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January 9 2014

ObamaCare: Olympics Ad Blitz Coming Your Way

Patrice J. Lee

Plan on watching the 2014 Winter Olympics? Prepare for an onslaught of ads luring you –especially if you’re a young person - to buy ObamaCare.

As part of a PR blitz, Health and Human Services is spending an undisclosed amount of taxpayer dollars to buy airtime during the upcoming Olympics in February to peddle ObamaCare. They’re targeting healthy, young people, a demographic the Administration needs to sign up in order for the system to work.

The Hill reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services will run ObamaCare ads during the Winter Olympics, targeting the young and healthy in parts of the country where there are large numbers of uninsured people.

“We are ramping up education and outreach efforts to drive enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace as part of a sustained, aggressive campaign for the duration of open enrollment,” HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told The Hill in an email.

HHS would not provide the size of the ad buys and didn’t say what markets the ads would run in. So far in 2014, the administration has held press events in Texas, Georgia and Florida to highlight what it says are the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

“HHS is using a mix of grassroots activities and stakeholder engagement to raise awareness, as well as targeted television, radio, and digital advertising with an emphasis on reaching young and healthy audiences in particular,” Peters said.

As we are well aware, the Administration is far behind its original enrollment targets. With less than three months before the March 31st deadline, they are about 5 million enrollments behind the 7 million predictions. Recently, they’ve back peddled on those targets, claiming now to focus on the right mix of sick and old versus young and healthy. 

Either way, they have a yeoman’s task ahead of them.  The broken healthcare.gov website and botched rollout certainly stymied enrollment efforts and eroded confidence in the government’s ability to plan and execute this legislation. Almost 60 percent of uninsured Americans who visited the website reported a negative experience. That doesn’t bode well for enrollment efforts with the most critical customers.

At some point the Administration should face the inconvenient truth that Americans are just not that into ObamaCare. According Gallup, less than half of uninsured Americans who plan to get insurance say they will do so through an exchange and roughly 30% of uninsured Americans say they are more likely to pay the penalty and forego insurance.

No amount of advertising is likely to sway those who have made up their mind about purchasing healthcare coverage through ObamaCare.

Some experts predict that the young and healthy will sign up but are procrastinators and will wait until the deadline. That is why the Olympic PR blitz next month is critical for the Administration. However, if the “Got Covered?” ads and pajama boy are any indication of what they will roll out to capture young people, they are better saving our tax dollars for something else.

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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