I can’t think of a more fitting place to tout Obamacare.
In Connecticut, selling Obamacare involves airplanes flying banners across beaches. Oregon may reel in hipsters with branded coffee cups for their lattes. And in neighboring Washington, the effort could get quite intimate: The state is interested in sponsoring portable toilets at concerts.
The advertisements, developed with political consultants and communications firms, illustrate the ability of the health-care law’s supporters to pinpoint the precise group they want to sign up for Obamacare — young and healthy Americans who won’t weigh down the system with high medical bills.
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. 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. […]
“You’re talking about a high degree of skepticism,” said Michael Marchand, who runs communications for the WA HealthPlanFinder, Washington’s marketplace. “There’s a lot of ‘I don’t understand what this is and why it’s important’ or ‘I don’t understand why there’s a good return on investment when I could be getting the next Radiohead album off iTunes.’ It’s totally understandable. I get that.”
Marchand has been thinking up all sorts of ways to make sure young people hear about the new health program. Perhaps in music-heavy Washington state, it’s no surprise that his thoughts have gravitated toward outreach at concerts and music festivals.
“We’ve talked about everything we could use, even whether we could do some branding on porta-potties,” he said. “I want to sponsor charging stations, too. Talk about a captive audience. They’re standing there, charging their iPhones.”