The GOP Isn’t Going to Let Americans Learn About Obamacare

Written by Sy Mukhurjee

What if a health care law could benefit millions of Americans — but no one knew about it? Recent Republican efforts to derail Obamacare’s educational outreach — despite abundant evidence that Americans don’t know enough about the law to take advantage of it — may have that very effect.

On Thursday, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) sent a letter to NBA and NFL league commissioners, probing them about recent talks between the organizations and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on a potential deal to promote enrollment into Obamacare’s insurance marketplaces.

“I contend that the effects of this [Obamacare] train wreck will have a devastating impact on your fans and business partners across the country… I would caution you against being coerced into doing [the Obama administration's] dirty work for them,” wrote Scalise.

That’s just the latest in a series of GOP attacks on Obamacare promotion. Since May, congressional Republicans have been scrutinizing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ efforts to partner with — and solicit funds from — private health care organizations in order to let consumers know about enrollment opportunities and benefits under the law.

Those efforts may be necessary considering a new Gallup poll from Friday which finds that 43 percent of uninsured — who stand to benefit the most from Obamcare — don’t know that they have to buy insurance with the help of federal subsidies next year. Over 40 percent of Americans don’t even know that Obamcare is still the law of the land. That’s particularly concerning since open enrollment for the law’s insurance marketplaces begin in about three months.

Private organizations are trying to bridge that information gap. On Thursday, Cosmopolitan magazine announced that it will include informational material about the health law in upcoming issues. “This stuff is really important. It’s life-changing for a lot of people,” said Cosmo editor-in-chief Joanna Coles in an interview with Reuters.

These outreach and public education tactics haven’t been historically controversial — the George W. Bush administration did much the same when selling the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan for seniors, and former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney teamed up with the Boston Red Sox to promote Romneycare — the precursor to Obamacare — when he was governor of Massachusetts.

But that hasn’t stopped Republican lawmakers like Scalise from castigating HHS and organizations that are considering selling the law by letting Americans know about the resources that are available to them. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) went so far as to compare Sebelius to Iran-Contra felon Oliver North over her outreach push. Many conservative groups have been actively undermining educational outreach about Obamacare by waging print, radio, and TV ad campaigns that scaremonger over the law. In fact, Obamacare opponents have outspent its supporters by a five to one margin in the last two and a half years.

Republicans may see an opportunity to derail the law in public ignorance about its provisions, possibly giving them a campaign issue for the 2014 midterm elections. But private groups such as the NBA have signaled an openness to assisting Obamacare implementation, which makes sense since large portions of their fan bases will benefit from the law. That gives sports groups an opportunity to be good corporate citizens while also helping consumers with their health care costs.

This post was originally published at ThinkProgress.


Photo from Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago

thanks for the article.

Dennis D.
Dennis D.3 years ago

Boehner Unveils Strategy To Take Down ACA Through Targeted Votes
Thursday, August 1, 2013

"During a private meeting with the House Republican Conference on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) outlined a strategy to gradually dismantle the Affordable Care Act through a series of votes he described as "targeted strikes" against the law, according to a source who attended the meeting, The Hill reports (Berman, The Hill, 7/31)."

I think this says it all...

A majority of Americans want the ACA, but of course that would be bad business. Just ask any republican/tea party member.

Bill Reese
Bill Reese3 years ago

plans in the House to protect all Americans from Obamacare’s requirements to purchase insurance by voting to delay both the individual and employer mandates. Surprisingly, the White House has said that the president would veto these bills, even though one of them gives him the legal authority to do what he’s already announced he plans to do unilaterally. Only in Washington, D.C. does that make sense.

Under the Affordable Care Act, countless Americans are getting kicked off their plans, and too many workers are losing their jobs or getting their hours cut. It’s time to repeal the law and start over. This one year delay will allow us to work on real reforms that actually make healthcare more affordable for Oregon families without stifling job growth and innovation.

Stacey Toda
Stacey Toda3 years ago

God I hate Republicans

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown3 years ago

Here is Benghazi Bill's direct quote:

"Obama needs to go the way of Morsic. of Egypt."

(yes, Benghazi Bill does not even know the correct name of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi)

Now tell me Bill, having seen your DIRECT QUOTE, you want to explain how Dennis and I are "trying to make people believe you said something that you did not say."

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

OK I see you are too small a man to admit your word voices. I am not at all surprised. You are a pathetic man Bill.

Dennis D.
Dennis D.3 years ago

Bill we are pointing out your seriously flawed logic of trying to tie to different events together.

In Egypt it was a military cioup that finally ousted the Egyptian president. No better than the junta in South America.

In the Ukraine. Which is still part of Russian federation. it was the people that through legal peace assembly was able to force a change with in their own government.

Your poor word choice is your own fault.

But to address the topic of this forum. I think what the republican/tea party fear the most is that the citizens and voting public will embrace and feel empowered to take control of their healthcare and demand an end to the spirally costs of medicine. it is after all a multibillion dollar industry that does not need an informed public to start questioning. Iust why it takes a mere penny to produce and aspirin yet is sold for 10x that amount.

Or just why does some one miles from the doctor office need to tell a doctor just how to treat his or patient. Worse dictate what the treatment ought to be in many cases.

I can see why the republican/tea party needs to quash this information before it gets out of hand. befre long my gods. People might actually start to demand that doctors and their patients have final say on how to be treated and what the treatment should be in each case.

What horrifying thought. People becoming educated. Where will it end. Why before long the voting public might make people a priority rather than some faceless mu

Bill Reese
Bill Reese3 years ago

Robert you are quoting Kevin, and Dennis in trying to make people believe I said something that I did not say. Please read what I said not what those two are trying to say I said. Wow, almost sounds like double talk. :-)

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

Bill, there is a difference between the Oransge Revolution and the Morsi revolution. One was caused by a Militaty Coup. Thats where you are getting in trouble. Morsi was removed by the military. When you say Obama should be removed the same way then you are way out of bounds. Word choice is important. Simply admit you made a bad word choice and we can move on.

Bill Reese
Bill Reese3 years ago

Wow, Kevin is always right, every person in the world called the Ukrainian Revolution a REVOLUTION but he still insist that it was not. All those dumb reporters, and government officials in Ukraine, forgot to clear their wording with Kevin first. How dumb of them not to realize there is someone that could have corrected them before they made a mistake and call the Revolution a REVOLUTION.

For shame on them.