Red States to Be Slammed by $12M Obamacare Ad Blitz

Thursday, 05 Sep 2013 11:55 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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The White House is preparing to unleash a multimillion-dollar ad campaign in 13 red states at the end of the month designed to convince Americans to sign up for Obamacare insurance exchanges, Politico reported Thursday.

The states — Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas — will be inundated by the $12 million ad buy made by the Center for Medicare Services at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Every state but Missouri is led by a Republican governor, many of whom have made no secret of their disdain for Obamacare — and even in Missouri, a Republican-dominated legislature has set an anti-Obamacare agenda.

Some Republicans are not shy about voicing their objections to the advertising, seeing it as an attempt to shift public opinion on Obamacare.

Earlier this week, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called Obamacare advertising a "blatant misuse of federal dollars."

In an email Thursday, Chris Bond, spokesman for the conservative group YG Network, backed up Rubio's sentiments.

"It’s unfair to middle-class families for President Obama to use millions of their hard-earned tax dollars to try and sell them a policy they continue to reject on its merits," Bond wrote.

The administration's ad campaign is scheduled to begin Sept. 30, one day before the healthcare enrollment period begins.

The number of states and the total cost of the ad campaign are both expected to increase as the kickoff to enrollment draws closer.

The Obama administration awarded a $41 million public relations contract to the firm Weber Shandwick earlier this year to promote participation, Politico reported.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters acknowledged that an informational campaign was under way that includes "targeted ads," while steering clear of discussing just how much it was going to cost.

"Starting Oct. 1, millions of Americans will be able to access quality, affordable health coverage for the first time, and we will continue educating and informing the uninsured of this opportunity," Peters said.

HHS has characterized the push to enrollment push as part of the department's "normal outreach" around comparable government services, such as open enrollment in Medicare.

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