The administration is working feverishly with supporters to sell the Affordable Care Act, the signature piece of legislation of Barack Obama's presidency.
Expect this full court press on the public right up to Oct. 1, when state-by-state health "exchanges" will start to enroll Americans without employer-based health insurance. The Department of Health and Human Services reportedly has a $75 million public relations budget to spread the word through an all-out media blitz, door-to-door canvassing and public events.
It's no surprise to see President Obama's friends in the entertainment world promoting the law. Appeals have also gone out to the religious community to join the outreach effort for Obamacare. This is more of a challenge since and some church leaders have even actively against parts of the law, including coverage for birth control.
The administration is also seeking the support of professional sports leagues, hoping to enroll a younger and healthier crowd so premiums on the exchange do not soar because of an influx of older, sicker patients. It's not surprising to see a push back by conservative opponents of Obamacare who are urging young people to skip the exchanges altogether, even though doing so would mean incurring the tax penalty for not having insurance coverage.
To make its pitch, The Department of Health and Human Services last week unveiled a video contest designed to persuade skeptical younger Americans to get health coverage.
Participants are encouraged to submit three different types of videos advertising the benefits of the exchanges, including a song, an animated short, or a video designed to convince viewers that they aren't invincible.
Using funds from the Affordable Care Act's education and outreach budget, HHS will award $3,000 each to the creators of the three most popular and persuasive videos, while second and third place winners will get $2,500 each.
The administration came under fire earlier this summer for using a public school in California as a medium to hype Obamcare. The state's health insurance exchange called Covered California announced grants of $37 million on May 14 to promote the law.
The Los Angeles Unified School District was to use a $990,000 grant to train teens to promote ObamaCare to family members. The district listed as a primary outcome for its project, "Teens trained to be messengers to family members."
Taxpayers in that district are seeing the Obamacare blitz from all directions. Besides the media blitz, their taxpayer dollars are paying for the teachers preaching about the benefits of Obamacare to their co-workers and the students. The children then take it home where they can sing the praises of Obamacare to their parents.
This administration is sparing no expense and will use any means to secure a legacy for the Obama years in the White House.
By Jim Zbick