A lot of healthy, young people are going to have to sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, as even the White House calls it — if the legislation is going to have a shot.
Maybe having a shot is the answer.
The Washington Post looked at the measures that federal and state officials are using to promote Obamacare, and found some questionable examples — including a bourbon festival in Kentucky. Officials say the promotions are “regional in nature.”
“Oregon might do branded coffee cups, for example, whereas Seattle is looking at doing outreach at music festivals,” the Post reports. “It only makes sense, then, that Kentucky would be doing outreach at multiple bourbon festivals across the state.”
The newspaper contacted a state official and asked about the promotion. Jill Midkiff said the state was looking for places young people might gather.
“I briefly scanned a schedule of upcoming mobile tour events and below are a few that are attended by a large number of young people: regional sporting events, such as the Lexington Legends and Louisville Bats games; the Goettafest and Riverfest in Newport and Covington; the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Ky.; the Bourbon Chase; Oktoberfest in Newport; the Bourbon and Blues Festival in Owensboro; a couple of half marathons in various locations; the Iron Man competition, etc. We also expect that Navigators will be doing outreach on college campuses,” she said in an email to the Post.
This comes a few days after the Post reported, in a related article, that the state of Washington could promote Obamacare in porta-potties.
“However sophisticated, the outreach also underscores how states have become willing to try almost anything to make their pitch in the face of a poorly informed and politically divided public,” the Post explains. “With 82 days left until the insurance marketplaces open for business, public awareness remains low. Most polling data suggest that few Americans are aware of how the Affordable Care Act works — or that it even exists.”
That’s a problem that could sink Obamacare. A recent poll shows that 39 percent of the currently uninsured say they think Obamacare will “make things better,” as the Gallup survey put it.
“Gallup’s results complement another poll by InsuranceQuotes from last month that found 64 percent of the uninsured are uncertain whether they will purchase insurance coverage once Obamacare takes full effect next year,” the Heritage Foundation noted last month. “The uninsureds’ opinion of the law is important, as they are the ones with the most to gain from its implementation. This is the precise population that is supposed to sign up for coverage via Obamacare’s exchanges just less than 100 days from now.”
That’s why the federal government is going to great lengths to market the legislation to young people. If they don’t sign up, then the system will crumble under the weight of older, less-healthy Americans.
President Barack Obama acknowledged in May “there’ll still be glitches and bumps” in implementing Obamacare.
But perhaps a shot of bourbon will help it go down more smoothly.