April 22 2013

Obama Administration: Hey, What ObamaCare Really Needs Is a New Ad Campaign!

Charlotte Hays

John Fund reports this morning on the Obama administration’s attempt to put “lipstick on the ObamaCare pig:”

The Department of Health and Human Services has just handed out a $3.1 million PR contract to improve the public image of Obamacare. Advertising Age reports that the firm Weber Shandwick will help “roll out a campaign to convince skeptical — or simply confused — Americans the Affordable Care Act is good for them and convince them to enroll in a health plan.”

Yep, we're paying for an advertising campaign to promote a system many of us abhor.

Something tells me that this is a contract that isn’t going to be affected by the sequester.

The administration has insisted all along that the unpopularity of ObamaCare is just a perception problem. The administration has argued that, as the public got to know ObamaCare, it would become popular.

Well, we're getting to know it--and we are finding out, to use the words of Democratic Senator Max Baucus, that a train wreck is heading our way.

ObamaCare is going to be a horrible mess. It is going to cause premiums to skyrocket, especially among the young, make medical care less efficient, and cause many companies to cut back on the hours of workers.

So the administration decides to do more advertising on the taxpayer dime. Perhaps this will remind you of the ObamaCare spots that aired at the time of the 2010 midterms and featured late actor Andy Griffith telling older citizens that “more good things are coming” from Medicare. As Fund notes, Griffith neglected to mention cuts to Medicare Advantage.

In addition to an ad campaign, the administration is predictably falling back on that old stand-by: blaming Republicans.

The administration is already preparing its excuses if insurance premiums skyrocket next year and parts of Obamacare miss key start dates. HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius complained this month that “no one fully anticipated” the difficulties involved in setting up Obamacare. She blamed obstructionist Republicans for engaging in “state-by-state political battles” to slow down the creation of health-care exchanges.

But it might not work this time:

But many of her fellow Democrats aren’t exactly following her line. West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller, one of the main architects of Obamacare, calls the bill “probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress.” Referring to the implementation of the bill, he says, “If it isn’t done right the first time, it will just simply get worse.” 

And the administration knows that disaster looms:

The Obama administration is preparing for the worst. Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute reports that it is getting ready to spend $600 billion that Congress never authorized on federally run state exchanges in order to ease any sticker shock for consumers. But that may not be nearly enough. 

Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, admitted his doubts to a group of health-care executives recently. “We are under 200 days from open enrollment [in Obamacare], and I’m pretty nervous,” he said. “The time for debating . . . is it a world-class experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago. Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”

President Obama can’t charm--or advertise--his way out of this one.

Unfortunately,   it’s regular folks, not the people in Congress or at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who foisted this monstrosity upon us, who will face rising costs and diminished health care.

It is not going to work.

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