The new hip, cool Obamacare
This will probably work. If I were young and the Obama administration created a marketing campaign for Obamacare that made it cool and hip, I would have fallen for it myself.
Administration officials have a daunting task in the weeks ahead: making ObamaCare "cool."
Marketing experts say a hip branding effort is what's needed to draw people into the new health insurance exchanges set to launch in January.
Officials working to implement President Obama's signature program recognize the need to generate buzz, and are working around the clock to come up with a marketing campaign that convinces young people to participate.
They're reaching out to the NFL, the NBA and Hollywood for help, and counting down the days to Oct. 1, when enrollment in the exchanges officially begins.
The administration is in a good position to secure splashy endorsements, as Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns had a deep bench of celebrity surrogates.
"Beyoncé all but took on the first lady's 'Let's Move!' platform, so imagine the pull Obama will have to sell healthcare," said one former administration official.
"Maybe Jay-Z will even help out," the official added.
Celebrity endorsements, slick ad campaigns and cutting-edge online enrollment would all serve one overriding purpose for the White House: connecting young, healthy people with their new healthcare benefits.
Without participation from that demographic, the new insurance exchanges will stumble out of the gate as older, sicker patients enroll. Younger, healthier people are needed to keep premium prices from skyrocketing.
But uninsured young people tend to be least concerned with purchasing health insurance and the least knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act, according to polling.
That's what the administration hopes will change as a product of its celebrity and sports partnerships.
It would have helped if they had added a tier to the approved insurance coverages geared specifically for the "young invincibles" that they want to sign up. But it really doesn't matter. They aren't called "young invincibles" for nothing. Young, single people will opt out of insurance because the don't feel they need it - no matter how "hip" they make it.
We are about 90 days from Obamacare rollout. That's not a lot of time to sell a program even if they get celebrity endorsements and the like. Chances are, the opening of state insurance exchanges on October 1 - some of which won't be ready - will be mass confusion even if Jay-Z makes a spashky commercial.