Thursday, March 27, 2014

In Search of ObamaCare Slogans

Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965), famed American broadcaster and commentator

The Democratic Party is in search of a slogan to define their ObamaCare 2014 strategy and to rally  Americans behind that strategy.  

So far suggested slogans have been.

·         Don’t repeal it, fix it.
·         Don’t replace it, fix it.
·         Keep the good, ban the bad.
·         Mend it, don’t end it.
·         Don’t defend it,  mend it.
·         Don’t end it, bend it.

The latter three slogans have the virtue of being poetic and  memorable.   But judging from the outcome of the Florida 13 special election, in which the Democratic  candidate lost with the “fix-it-mend-it” theme,  ObamaCare is difficult to defend  when a clear majority of Americans oppose iy and when Republicans agree we ought to keep the good.

Now six Democratic Senators – Mark Warner (Virginia), Mark Beglich (Alaska),  Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Hedia Heitkap (North Dakota), Joe Machina (West Virginia), and Angus King (Maine) -  have come up with a new strategy.     

Replace the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum ObamaCare exchange plans with a Copper Plan. Copper, as we all know, is a cheap metal used in large quantities as an electrical conductor  and as an alloy in manufacture of brass and bronze.  

 But unfortunately,  “copper” also has come to signify a policeman, and Americans do not like government policing their choice of health plans.

The idea behind the Copper Plan is simple enough – Lower premiums but increase out-of-pocket costs while offering catastrophic  insurance protection.  This makes sense.  Premium costs are what consumers pay attention to, and high premiums and high deductibles  in the various ObamaCare plans are obstacles for signing up for the various ObamaCare exchange plans.

But how to turn the Copper plan into a slogan that will move Americans to sign up for health insurance and to decrease the number of uninsured and that will  fit on a bumper sticker,  that is the question.

Here are some modest suggestions. 

·         “ Pick a Copper Plan, not a Bronze Plan”
·         “Lower Your Premium, Go Copper Not Bronze”
·         “Keep Your Dollar,  Go Copper”
·         “Keep Your Doctor,  Go Copper”
·         “Be a Good Healthcare Shopper,  Go Copper”

The problem with all of these suggestions, of course, is that more than half of Americans  do not know the exchanges exist,  that there is a deadline for signing up,  that there is a penalty if you do not sign up,   that there is such a thing as a Bronze Plan, that the Bronze plan may come with federal subsidies,  and the the Copper Plan does not yet exist.

Tweet:  Democrats are in search of a slogan to define their approach to fixing ObamaCare and preserving its popular elements.

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