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November 28 2014

ObamaCare's Black Friday Blitz

Patrice J. Lee

It’s Black Friday. Many Americans will rouse from their turkey, stuffing, and pie-induced comas to brave the early morning cold air and head to the nearest big box store or mall. The hunt for deep discounts of electronics, jewelry, and toys is luring them out of bed and the Administration is pouncing on this opportunity to peddle ObamaCare.

As we now know, the Obama Administration inflated enrollment numbers from earlier this year. After miscalculating, it turns out they are 300,000 people short of the 7-million enrollment number that the Congressional Budget Office set. Remember all of the hoopla over hitting 8 million? Those numbers have been quietly dialed back as a million sign-ups neglected to provide evidence of eligibility or to pay for their monthly premiums. Then it turns out someone added dental plan owners to the total number of medical plans owners, which conveniently bumped them over the 7-million hurdle.

Needless to say, President Obama and his team have some work to do. It’s open enrollment season again and they have to get the 6.6 million people who currently have active plans to re-enroll for coverage next year as well as to recruit new people to sign up. They especially need young people like me to enroll.

Last year, we saw lots of PR stunts like the insulting bro’surance ads that featured young men doing keg stands and young women looking for free birth control for their random hook-ups. At Christmas time, there was an oversized kid known as Pajama Boy. From a tactical standpoint, tax-payer funded enrollment counselors (navigators) fanned out to sneaker stores, night clubs, and parties where they might find large concentrations of young people to pitch ObamaCare. That didn’t work.

So it’s back to the drawing board. This time, the Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with malls, pharmacies, stores, and even websites to tout ObamaCare to shoppers starting on Black Friday and through this shopping weekend.

The Hill reports:

Kevin Counihan, CEO of the healthcare marketplace, announced Wednesday that the government has partnered with Westfield Shopping Centers to help “get the word out” about this year’s open enrollment.

Westfield is one of the country’s largest chains of malls, with about 40 locations across the U.S.

The partnership is part of a nationwide outreach campaign by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is aiming for 9 million new sign-ups by next year.

To get there, HHS announced Wednesday that it is also partnering with more than 23,000 local pharmacies across the country that are part of the National Community Pharmacy Association.

The department is also working with a media company called the XO Group, which specifically caters toward newlyweds and first-time parents.  

The Administration is treading very lightly and quietly because they know that ObamaCare is coming apart at the seams. Americans are not enrolling en masse as the Administration expected in part because trust in the system was rocked after last year’s woeful rollout. Then, there’s the string of broken promises that the president made about being able to keep your healthcare plan, doctor, hospital, and more. Costs are rising for those in the private insurance market because of ObamaCare and there are numerous significant impacts on the business sector because of ObamaCare.

Whether their efforts to meet consumers where they are will pay off remains to be seen. Pharmacies make sense but people don’t go to malls to shop for healthcare coverage and are likely not in the frame of mind to make important personal decisions –especially in such a public space – while out buying jeans and televisions.

Tactics aside, supporters of ObamaCare have a real challenge on their hands. After recent boasts by ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber that the nasty surprises were intentionally hidden from the public, and the real world impacts being felt daily, Americans aren’t racing to this system, and their reluctance to sign up could eventually lead to its demise. It’s another failed experiment with government intrusion into what should be the business of the private sector and another lesson learned by a new generation of Americans—but at what cost?

 


 

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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