Will the Obama Administration Succeed in Selling Obamacare?

One of the cornerstones of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka “Obamacare”) is the use of American Health Benefit Exchanges (Exchanges) that will be run by either the state and/or federal government. “Exchanges” are touted as a state-run and/or “not-for-profit” “marketplace” where qualified individuals can purchase health insurance at a reasonable and, under some circumstances, a subsidized cost.

These Exchanges are supposed to go live by October 1, 2013.

In a speech the President gave in Phoenix this past Tuesday, he did not fail to try to sell Obamacare and the health insurance Exchanges. He specifically stated,

“If you don’t have health insurance or you’re buying it at exorbitant rates on the individual market, starting on Oct. 1, you can join a marketplace and be part of a pool that gives you much lower premiums, saves you a lot of money.”

However, according to an Obamacare critic like Avik Roy, health insurance Exchanges, as they are set up in states like California, are not as competitive as the “regular” health insurance marketplace.

In a recent post about how the California Exchanges increase health insurance premiums, Roy states:

…[I]f you’re not low-income, you face a double-whammy: higher taxes to pay for those subsidies, and higher individual-market insurance costs for yourself. A better approach would be to offer everyone access to low-cost consumer-driven health coverage.

Amy Schatz observes in the Wall Street Journal that states and the federal government are completely unprepared for the Exchange roll-out.  Grants to train workers to assist consumers in purchasing health insurance from these Exchanges aren’t available for another two weeks, and in the 34 states where the federal government is supposed to be running the Exchanges, that leaves “just 32 business days to hire and train thousands of helpers.”

Talk about a customer service disaster!

According to the results of a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, 47% of Americans think that Obamacare is a “bad idea,” as opposed to the measly 34% who think the opposite is true.

Interestingly, the pollsters found that,

The other flashing red light comes from groups in the crucial political middle, which aren’t convinced the law is good for them. Suburban women, a target constituency for both parties in recent elections, say, by 43% to 13%, that they will be worse off under the new law.

The pollsters concluded that the Obama administration has a lot of work to do in order to sell the “product” of Obamacare to the American public.  However, to me, it’s starting to look like the Obama administration is looking more like a rip-off artist than a competent salesperson.  Fortunately, it seems like the majority of Americans aren’t taking the bait.

And speaking only for myself here, I am not buying it either.  I’m not buying it at all.