HHS spending millions to promote ObamaCare health exchanges after lackluster enrollment
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – The Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has arranged to pay public relations firm Weber Shandwick an additional $8 million to promote enrollment in ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges. Advertising Age reports that the campaign will aim to “convince skeptical — or simply confused — Americans the Affordable Care Act [a.k.a. ObamaCare] is good for them and convince them to enroll in a health plan.”
This, after HHS already paid them $3 million to do the same thing, and paid PR firm Porter Novelli $20 million before that.
The multimillion dollar PR offensive is reportedly a last-ditch effort to bolster the image of the health insurance exchanges, centerpieces of ObamaCare which have proven unpopular. The exchanges were originally expected to launch in October of 2013, but lackluster enrollment means it’s unlikely the Administration will meet that goal. Additionally, while the Administration assumed most states would take responsibility for their own exchanges, 33 states opted to let the federal government handle some or all of the responsibility for their exchanges – and a lion’s share of the expense.
Even ObamaCare’s supporters admit that the public’s view of the president’s signature legislation is dismal.
“I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) told HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a Capitol Hill hearing. “When I’m home, small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect, they don’t know what affordability rules are, they don’t know what penalties may apply. They just don’t know.”
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Bob Laszewski, a former insurance executive-turned consultant and blogger, told Kaiser Health News that he thinks the public’s aversion to ObamaCare will spell financial disaster for the nation. “It’s not hard to get sick people to sign up for health insurance,” Laszewski said. “But it’s really hard to get healthy people to sign up. If we don’t get a healthy cross-section, the financial structure of [ObamaCare] unravels.”
The likely result? Exorbitant premiums, which those least able to afford it will be forced to pay for lack of other options and the federal mandate requiring them to be insured.
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), a member of the congressional health care caucus, slammed the administration in a statement for the Washington Free Beacon for “spending millions of hard-earned in taxpayer dollars on an advertising campaign to tell Americans what’s ‘good for them’ in the flawed and harmful healthcare law.”
“As Americans are harmed because of these disastrous policies, no public relations campaign will convince them otherwise,” Price told the Free Beacon.