In early May, Kevin Drum raised a point that resonated with me: “Dems need to be promoting Obamacare with the same fervor Republicans bring to the attack, pointing out its benefits and upsides at every opportunity. So far I haven’t seen this … but it better start happening soon.”
In context, Kevin was making a political point – the GOP intends to use condemnations of the Affordable Care Act as part of its strategy in the 2014 midterms – but there’s also a substantive angle to all of this: the public needs to know about the law, have some understanding of its benefits, and participate in the system. So far, we’ve seen no real public-relations campaign to speak of.
That’s changing quickly and promotional efforts are gearing up in ways we haven’t seen up until now. The above ad is being aired by Organizing for America, and within the Obama administration, the push is taking on a new urgency. To get a better sense of the pitch, take a look at the newly revamped HealthCare.gov, unveiled this morning.
In the meantime, Enroll America, a nonprofit led by several former Obama campaign staffers, is spearheading enrollment efforts, “knocking on doors, advertising on television and radio and partnering with churches, civic groups, hospitals and celebrities.”
All of this seems to be happening at once, and the timing is not coincidental: Sarah Kliff reported yesterday that there are now just 99 days remaining until Oct. 1, the point at which “millions can begin enrolling in the health care law’s insurance expansion.” It’s an exciting opportunity, but the prospect of federal officials establishing insurance marketplaces in dozens of states is, to put it mildly, daunting. Complicating matters is the number of Americans who may not realize they should show up in the marketplace – 42% of Americans still don’t realize the Affordable Care Act is federal law, intact, not repealed, and not struck down by the Supreme Court.
Kliff followed up today with a related piece, explaining that there are “at least 99 things that need to happen between now and October,” and though the administration will have some help, there’s no guarantee that all 99 will get done.