August 5 2013
ObamaCare PR Blitz: Off to a Slow Start
Patrice J. Lee
Politico reports that an embarrassing event was held in the Virginia town of Centreville, where only one supporter showed up to work a phone bank to promote Obamacare. Is this indicative of the support and enthusiasm for the healthcare law among the Presidents own supporters? It’s too early to read too much into this, but it does suggest that the widespread support the Administration often hypes is not so widespread.
Organizing for Action (OFA), the President’s community action organization, hosted dozens of events in communities across the county to tout the benefits of the national healthcare plan and combat negative spin. To get this done OFA launched a network of supporters dubbed a “Truth Team” armed with tip sheets, guidance and ways to fight perceived “falsehoods.” During Congress’s August recess, the President and his “Truth Team” plan to aggressively push healthcare ahead of what is expected to be a critical time for implementation of the sweeping legislation in the fall.
With so many states pushing back against implementing Obamacare within their borders and organizations like the Independent Women’s Voice telling the public more about ObamaCare, the President has a lot of work to do.
Lynn Duvall, the lone supporter who stayed for the Virginia event, explained that her family’s medical predicament, the result of her son’s Crohn’s disease, drives her support for Obamacare:
“If the Affordable Care Act weren’t there, we would just have to deal with it. If it means we lose all of the assets we’ve saved over our lifetime, that’s what it would be,” said Duvall, who added that she left full-time work to care for her ailing son and aging mother, who she said was on Medicare and Medicaid before passing away at 103. “I would be really panicked if it weren’t for [Obamacare]. I don’t know what he would do.”
Another supporter interviewed for the story expressed similar sentiment. And herein lies one of the problem’s with Obamacare. The ardent supporters of the bill are those who are helped by it, not necessarily the general public public – i.e., those who are already satisfied with the level of coverage they have and those who are healthy and elect not to purchase healthcare. Those are precisely the people needed to make the public option work.
Gallup polling just last month reveals that more than half of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act and that is up from last November. Perhaps as people learn about it they like it less.
It’s not surprising that coming up on implementation deadlines then that the President is turning loose his PR machine to put a brighter spin on his mandated healthcare plan. Reportedly, some of the other events generated higher turnout. However, if most Americans are against Obamacare and of those who are supportive of it in theory but not necessarily willing to take the public option, then the President has more than just a PR problem on his hands.