I have been wondering about this, as I am seeing the lackluster rollout here in Pennsylvania in advance of the October 1 open enrollment date.
Bloomberg has been reporting that Enroll America recruited volunteers (or low money employees) to go around in “enemy territory” (Republican controlled states) to try and make people more aware of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Previously, it’s been reported that the US Department of Health and Human Services has target numbers of young people to enroll in each state, to make Obamacare actuarially sound in its first year.
In both cases, I don’t see that the administration and its nonprofit allies are going into the heart of the “battlefield”, which, to borrow a phrase from someone who visited our Somerset County Democratic group from Bergen back in early 2000’s, is “Whitelandia”.
(Inelegant a term as it is, it was used to describe a place that is predominantly white middle class. I modify it to say it also describes a place that is politically moderate, more along the lines of the Bull Moose progressive party of 100 years ago.)
“Whitelandia” still isn’t convinced of Obamacare, although, easily 25-30% of people in it have either benefited, or are going to greatly, from it. After three years, I am convinced it’s because the law wasn’t fully sold to them. And the pitch is, that it’s the missing piece of Social Security of the 1930s. We got national pensions in America in the ’30’s, then, it took 30 more years to get guaranteed old-age health care. Now, the final piece is to assure affordable health care at all ages—and especially, when you can’t afford it.
The Republican Party can easily paint the new law as something primarily for “them”, which in Whitelandia is understood to mean specific minorities and the ill-defined “undeserving” who look for “free stuff”. But practically, Affordable Care Act just regulates the health insurance companies like a utility, and sets the price for insurance on a sliding scale. It overwhelmingly benefits people in the vast middle of America.
But this is not the common theme you hear (even though it’s plugged from Washington Democrats). You’re not hearing this, and it’s only really understood by people who have studied the law.
The Democrats’ jerky moves and political correctness of the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s come back, time and again, to bite it in the ass, and to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
They need to start selling the program to the people for whom it’s a great benefit.