Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Advertising for Obamacare

Come October 1, there's going to be a change for many Americans, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, goes into effect. It's that date when people can begin signing up for coverage changes that will go into effect on January 1, 2014.

I normally don't like to get too political, but I think this is an interesting topic with two pretty distinct sides.

It's not the easiest system to understand, so the government is taking steps to advertise the changes and features of the health care plan, specifically working to target a young male audience, whose enrollment is critical in the success and affordability of the whole program.

The best way to reach said audience from October 1 through January 1? The government thinks that answer is the NFL.

Here's a snippet from an NPR report I found:

"The NFL," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius  said, "in the conversations I've had, has been very actively and enthusiastically engaged, because they see health promotion as one of the things that's good for them and good for the country."
Getting young people, particularly young men, to sign up for coverage under the health care law is not just something that's good for them, however. It's critical to the entire success of the new insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. If only the older and sicker sign up, premiums will quickly become unaffordable.

On the surface, it makes sense. It's targeting the demographic they are looking for in a time period where they are going to be engaged with the medium they will be using. That's like Marketing 101.

The question that I know will irk more than a few people is the source of funding for the advertising campaign:  taxes and fees. The implementation of Obamacare is going to be pricy, with the price tag approaching $1 trillion dollars (I saw an estimate of $940 billion dollars.)

The other part is, people just wanting to get away and watch football aren't going to be too thrilled with political advertising, because it's going to come from both sides. According to a Business Insider report, "Ads mentioning the health care law that were “overwhelmingly negative” — coming in at $400 million, as compared to $75 million spent portraying the law positively."

That's a lot of commercials that won't be for beer, potato chips, fast food and prostate medicine.

Sides are very much divided on the Obamacare issue, and this provides another hot button issue. Do you see the money spent on advertising as a justified expenditure to help inform the public? Also, are you going to like what might be your few hours of peace and quiet for the week interrupted by political advertisements?

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