Branding the ACA

Marketing is not something that I think about very often, if at all, in connection with health care. Yet this has proved to be a difficult task faced when implementing the ACA, more commonly referred to as Obamacare. It’s amazing to think how much weight one word can carry, and the emotional response which it can elicit. The term Obamacare carries such negative connotations (despite efforts by the Obama Administration to reclaim the term) that the mere mention of the word causes instant negative reaction in many. And still when the components of the law are broken down in surveys, there is broad support from the public. This clip from the October 1, 2013 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live shows this clearly:

In our project we will be interviewing people concerning their experience using the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Due to the intensely politicized nature of the ACA/Obamacare, it is very possible that we may encounter criticisms that stem from distrust engendered from the term Obamacare. However, as I have begun to learn in my short time here, South Texas is a unique area with a culture that is in many ways very different from the rest of the US and other areas of Texas itself. I’m excited to see how the culture of this region has shaped the experience of its people.

It can be difficult in these situations to determine the source of your interviewees feelings and separate what comes from the experience of accessing the health care marketplace, and what is formed by their previous notions of the new health care law. Though in the end, as the old adage goes, perception is reality and branding the ACA thoughtfully is critical to meet the ultimate goal of affordable health insurance for all.


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