Home / Blog / Article

December 14 2015

ObamaCare Circus Is Coming to Town!

Patrice J. Lee

If you thought the days of ads glorifying binge drinking and hook ups, ObamaCare navigators popping up at sneaker stores and parties, and Pajama boy were long gone, think again.

Tomorrow is the first deadline to enroll in healthcare coverage under ObamaCare to ensure that coverage begins as of the first of next year. Enrollment has been slow and it’s not too surprising why: spiking premiums, high deductibles, and difficulty getting access to healthcare.

Therefore, states like Maryland have been employing some of those failed PR techniques of yesteryear to reach a critical demographic: young, healthy Americans.

Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, the state’s ObamaCare exchange, has been trying new ways to reach Hispanic and young audiences. The state is running commercials featuring a Maryland rock band whose members bought coverage on the exchange.

Another healthcare nonprofit is running ads on radio and public transit in Spanish. Utility bills for Maryland residents will come with a surprise too: a reminder to sign up for ObamaCare. And if you’re a drug addict, needle exchange vans can be your go-to ObamaCare dealer.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Grass-roots groups and health workers around the state have deployed these tactics to persuade the persistently uninsured to sign up for health plans under the Affordable Care Act. The first deadline in this year's open enrollment period is Dec. 15 for people who want to get coverage by Jan. 1.

While the state has made great strides in the two years since the law took effect, more than 300,000 Marylanders remain uninsured. Health officials have dubbed these people "the hard to reach" and have focused this year on how to persuade them to get insurance.

"We really have been trying to be creative in getting the word out." said Carolyn Quattrocki, executive director of the Maryland Heath Benefit Exchange. She oversees the Maryland Health Connection, the online marketplace where consumers can buy plans.


The state has run commercials featuring a rock band from Maryland whose members bought insurance on the exchange. They hope it entices the "young invincible" crowd, people who are healthy and believe they can forego coverage. Young, healthy enrollees are a much-needed demographic because they help fund the plans and defray the cost of insuring older and sicker people.

...The nonprofit Health Care Access Maryland is running transit and radio advertisements in Spanish too.

"This is a population that relies on word of mouth, so the message didn't really infiltrate before," said Lena Hershkovitz, the group's vice president of health insurance programs. "TV ads really work well in this market and have really been driving people to our enrollment events. We also rely heavily on radio ads to drive people to our website."

The message being transmitted is ObamaCare is expensive, but that’s what the subsidies are for. After all, nine out of ten people receive a subsidy.

Consistent criticism of ObamaCare is its unaffordability. It fails to be affordable even with generous tax payer subsidies. Customers are getting sticker shock when they realize the out-of-pock costs they face because of high deductibles or spiking monthly premiums. We’re left to wonder just what would have happened if the Supreme Court had not upheld the federal subsidies and the true costs of ObamaCare was unveiled.

Regardless of the message states and the Administration try to send, they can’t hide that ObamaCare is a bad deal.

AP reports:

Medical costs of enrollees have been higher than expected and total enrollment remains low," said Caroline Pearson, a vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health. "If participation is leveling off, then plans may be stuck with a risk pool that is not particularly balanced."


"It's heartbreaking to think that they could have affordable insurance," said Collins. "They think it's like going on welfare." One friend believed incorrectly that insurers could still turn down customers with pre-existing health conditions, a practice barred under the law.

Collins, a graphic designer, has had to make adjustments. She switched insurers for 2016 because the company she was with left the market. Her premium will be about the same, after subsidies the law provides for private coverage. But her deductible will spike from $500 to $2600.

"I'm getting less coverage for about the same, and I'm not happy with that," Collins said. "But I don't know what I would do if I weren't getting the government subsidy...”

The architects of established the personal mandate to ensure that the public would sign up for ObamaCare policies. We're seeing that even that won't overcome the liabilities of ObamaCare.

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.
Follow us