December 16 2013

Latest ObamaCare Outreach Strategy: Sneakers & Parties

Patrice J. Lee

Taking a page from the anti-ObamaCare efforts of organizations such as Generation Opportunity, which uses social media and events like tailgates to get young people to opt out of ObamaCare, Washington D.C. healthcare officials are going where young people are to get them enrolled. However their reception has been no party. (In full disclosure, I work for Generation Opportunity).

While waiting in line for the release of new, exclusive Air Jordan sneakers at two Washington, D.C.-area Footlocker locations, patrons got an earful about signing up for ObamaCare.

Fox News reports:

Officials on Saturday visited two Footlocker stores where Nike’s exclusive Air Jordan 12 “Taxi” sneakers were going on sale. And they are scheduled to visit two Denny’s restaurants from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

“My motto is ‘Get them health care while you get them Jordans,” DC Health Links representative Vanessa Brooks told Fox News outside a Footlocker in the city’s downtown.

“Get some health care to go along with them taxis, OK?” Brooks told those at the store. “You got to have it. And you need it.”

The Obama administration and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act have worked hard since enrollment started in October to connect with young people, knowing their participation will help cover the cost of the elderly and others who need more medical care.

However, problems with the federal ObamaCare website and the 14 state-run sites appear to have made the tech-savvy generation wary of the entire program, combined with members’ general feeling they won’t get sick or injured, which has prompted Brooks and other D.C. Health Link officials to call them “young invincibles.”

Brooks and other so-called “assisters” plan to make contact this weekend with hundreds of young D.C. residents and encourage them to make appointments to enroll in insurance plans.

As you know, enrollment in ObamaCare has been as woeful as the botched rollout. Only 365,000 Americans have “enrolled.” It’s no coincidence that a majority of Americans disapprove of ObamaCare.  Not only have the healthcare.gov glitches inspired a lack of trust in ObamaCare, but Americans are now experiencing higher costs and narrowed options for doctors, hospitals, and medications; and losing their current coverage.

The motto of showing up where young people “party by night and shop by day” exposes the lengths to which the Administration and its ObamaCare soldiers must go to enroll a demographic that is critical to its success. They need 2.7 million young, healthy Americans to enroll in ObamaCare to make the fundamentally flawed system work. Because the Administration won’t release demographic data, we don’t know what portion of current enrollees are these “Young Invincibles.”

We do know they have work to do to change perceptions among young people. New polling from USAToday/Pew confirms what a recent Harvard poll also found: Young people don’t like ObamaCare and they increasingly don’t approve of the job President is doing:

… as Obama tries to climb out of a 2-month-long malaise that saw his popularity sink with the fumbled rollout of the federal health care exchange, the president appears to have nearly as much work to do with young people as he does with older Americans.

Forty-five percent of 18- to 29-year-old Americans say they approve of the way Obama is handling his job; 46% disapprove of his job performance, according to a year-end USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll. The president's approval rating with young Americans — which stood at 67% just ahead of his second inauguration less than a year ago — now mirrors the general population, according to the poll.

The navigators and their assistants who are hitting Footlocker and nightclubs on weekends need to step up their game to win young people over. The bright minds that inspired this generation to elect President Obama have since dimmed as evidence by their failed strategies of getting mom to talk about healthcare during Thanksgiving, celebrity endorsements, and insulting “Got Insurance?” ads.

Their problem is that no amount of marketing covers up for what a bad deal this is—it is bad policy and bad for the future of our nation.

 

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