The Obama administration is mounting a full court press to sell Americans on the Affordable Care Act, the president's signature piece of legislation.
The big push is in advance of Oct. 1, when the marketplaces for Obamacare are set to open. Using the Web sites, people will be offered new insurance options. Starting next year, virtually all Americans must carry health insurance or face a fine, which start as low as $95 in 2014 and could rise to $695 or more for an individual.
To advance its message, the administration is employing an advertising blitz. Last April, it was announced that the administration awarded a $14 million contract to a major public-relations firm to run a massive ad campaign touting the purported benefits of Obamacare.
Now, as crunch time nears for the law, the president's public relations campaign is shifting into high gear. The Associated Press recently reported that supporters of Obamacare law will spend nearly $700 million promoting the state exchanges, subsidies, and the individual mandate which is the requirement that all Americans purchase health coverage.
A liberal advocacy group called Americans United for Change announced a new campaign in conjunction with a health-care advocacy group in 10 states. Group President Brad Woodhouse said the effort is designed to "hold Republicans accountable" and "go on the offensive" to promote the law. Woodhouse vowed to deploy every tool and tactic available, including hiring top state-level political consultants and recruiting activists to turn up at Heritage town hall meetings and protest at Republican events.
The Affordable Care Act has been a lightning rod from the day it was proposed in Obama's first term, creating deep divisions around the nation. For those U.S. congressmen brave enough to hold town hall meetings during their summer break from Washington, the meetings will not be pleasant.
While the administration is making its pitch, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, are leading a campaign to build a "grassroots army" to sway the Republican leadership to back a plan blocking any measure that funds the government after Sept. 30 unless it cuts spending for the Affordable Care Act.
The administration and the proponents of Obamacare have reason to be concerned, prompting their all-out advertising blitz. In one recent poll, only 4 percent of identified Republicans felt that the Affordable Care Act would improve their situation. An even more ominous number for Obama was that just 40 percent of Democrats felt confident that the bill was designed to support their needs.
For the next few months, expect to see a glut of government ads on radio, TV and social media designed to capture the hearts and minds of Americans. This will be a massive grassroots effort and in some neighborhoods, volunteers will be going door-to-door, just like a major election campaign.
Fasten your seat belt because the media circus and schmoozing for public support will only be intensifying. This late summer turf war over Obamacare promises to be be a hot one.
By Jim Zbick