Obamacare and Health Insurance Exchanges: A PR Makeover

Posted by The CHT Group on 11 October 2013

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With the implementation of President Obama’s health insurance exchanges taking effect at the start of October, and the PR crisis that ensued after they weren’t working properly; we got to thinking about the PR efforts that support the Affordable Care Act and its provisions. We wondered what would happen if we approached random people on the street and asked them about Obamacare and the policies that go along with it. Would they be able to explain it? Would even half of these people know how this new policy would affect them? Would they know how to navigate through insurance exchanges and pick out the best plans? Unfortunately, we thought these questions could be answered with a resounding “no” and, according to a recent Jimmy Kimmel skit, we were right.

While we won’t weigh in on the new policy itself, we would like to discuss the communications strategy – or lack thereof - that was put in place to support it. We think the policy’s provisions could have benefited from some extra PR efforts and should have been communicated to the public more clearly. A more carefully constructed PR campaign would not only increase the public’s approval and better the public image of Obamacare (which a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll says is steadily growing negative), but would also educate citizens about the benefits that they stand to gain from the new healthcare law. Here are some PR tactics we would have used to better communicate the new provisions:

Infographic/Simple Video Explanation

Creating an infographic or simple video (such as the one we found on Upworthy entitled “The Simplest Explanation of Obamacare. Ever.”) that outlines the policies and effects of the new healthcare law would have been a great start to a better PR campaign. Both tactics would show citizens how the Affordable Care Act would affect them and their families and would help the public visualize the inner workings of the law. With the policy clearly laid out for them, more citizens would understand the law and, therefore, have a more favorable opinion on the impending change in our healthcare system. People fear the unknown- which is why Obama’s new policy should have been more transparent.

More Press Conferences

While President Obama has addressed the Affordable Care Act in past press conferences, we feel he needed to do this more often and should have not only described why our nation needs the new law, but explained the law and its provisions as a whole. The Affordable Care Act has been the most notable part of Obama’s presidency and has been his “pet project” ever since he has stepped into office. Therefore, the American people should have received a thorough and direct explanation from the President regarding the policy change. This would, once again, clarify the specifics of Obamacare and would allow the President to be in complete control of the messaging behind the new policy, eliminating any possibility of misunderstanding or speculation by the media.

Obama’s healthcare law is largely aimed at two goals: decreasing the number of uninsured Americans and reducing the cost of care. Seeing as these goals are largely positive and overall beneficial to the majority of the public, the approval and perception of Obamacare could stand to be much higher with the proper PR campaign behind it.