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December 12 2014

7-Eleven to Serve up ObamaCare

After grabbing a Slurpee and hot dog, 7-Eleven patrons may pick up some government-sponsored healthcare messages, too. The Administration just announced a partnership that allows them to promote ObamaCare on sales receipts.

Building on partnerships with shopping malls and other hot spots for the young and uninsured, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a partnership with PayNearMe, an electronic payment processing system that allows businesses to process cash payments for those who don’t have access to banks. 7-Eleven is one such store that will now allow PayNearMe receipts to include a plug for healthcare.gov at the bottom of receipts.

During this open enrollment season, we’ve seen the Administration take a different approach to marketing ObamaCare that relies more on partnerships than big, splashy and expensive PR campaigns.

The Washington Post reports:

Starting today, and until the end of the open enrollment period for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, PayNearMe receipts printed at all 7,800 7-Eleven stores in the United States will direct payers to HealthCare.gov.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell demonstrated the system at a 7-Eleven in downtown Washington on Thursday in a small press event attended by Sunnyvale-based PayNearMe chief executive Danny Shader.

The partnership is an effort to reach potential customers where they already are, Burwell said.

“We know that the populations we’re trying to reach, many of the uninsured are those who . . . are unbanked,” Burwell said. “Those are the people that PayNearMe reaches. We want to try and reach those populations.”

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has been open about the challenge the Administration faces this open enrollment season which ends this month for those who desire ObamaCare coverage starting January 1. Enrollment efforts sputtered off to a slow start.

Enrollment targets have already been downgraded from 12 million to about 9.9 million for 2015. We know that only 6 million Americans received coverage through the exchanges compared to the 8 million that the President bragged about earlier this year. Not only do those current customers need to re-new their plans, the Administration must get creative to attract another 3.2 million.

We don’t know how these latest efforts are going because the Administration has been slow to release much data on enrollment – a trend from the past year. However, anything must be better than the PR blitz of last year that relied on spending billions of taxpayer dollars on outreach and marketing efforts including tv time during expensive programs like the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

Those ads to lure young people onto ObamaCare were ineffective and insulting. They featured college bros doing keg stands, young women looking to hook up with random guys, kittens and puppies, and even an overgrown kid named Pajama Boy.

And then there are the celebrities. Like a dad toting out the annual box of Christmas lights from the garage, the Administration once again activated their cache of celebrities to promote ObamaCare on social media, but not at the same level as last year.

As we’ve always held, ObamaCare is a bad deal for Americans, especially young people. Printing a link to a website or getting a popular singer to tweet are ineffective tactics to advance a law and system that is fundamentally flawed. Even if they get the tactics, PR, and the website working and done right, ObamaCare will still be rejected by a majority of Americans.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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