Americans are still full of questions about Obamacare’s online marketplaces, says a recent study by Kaiser Family Foundation. Despite a considerable public relations push from the Obama administration and other activists, nearly 66% of Americans don’t realize that the online marketplaces open tomorrow.
Even worse, 75% of uninsured Americans, the very people who the healthcare reform is intended to help, are unaware that the online marketplaces will be available to them tomorrow.
Sarah Kliff of The Washington Post notes that although these numbers are unsettling, there are a couple of ways to look at them.
The immediate reaction to these numbers is to assume that the Obama administration is facing a disaster. The Affordable Care Act is supposed to be the defining achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency and if it fails, his presidency will be forever tainted. The administration has spent five years and billions of dollars promoting healthcare reform to the American public. The fact that there are still questions about Obamacare’s online marketplaces could mean that Obama’s team has failed to get their message across properly.
But Kliff also offers an alternative viewpoint: it doesn’t really matter if people know the exchanges open tomorrow, so long as people know that they open soon. Whether you sign up on October 1st or January 1st, the benefits you receive will still be the same.
However, despite Kliff’s cheery outlook, the Obama administration has to be just a little nervous. They’ve spent a considerable amount of time promoting Obamacare and if people are still feeling uninformed, that’s a PR nightmare for Obama.
Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey also showed that the American public doesn’t trust the media to answer their questions about Obamacare’s online marketplaces. Over half of those polled said that they don’t trust newspapers, radio, or television news to properly educate them about the healthcare reforms. Nearly 60% feel that the media spends too much time focusing on the controversies and debates that surround the Affordable Care Act and not enough time educating the public.