Reframing Obamacare: Can The President Convince Americans To Enroll?

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President Barack Obama speaks on the Affordable Care Act in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building December 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks on the Affordable Care Act, December 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Obama is trying to assure the public that problems with are a thing of the past and the uninsured should enroll. His administration has been releasing data showing improvements, and the president is publicly standing up to Republican leaders who criticize the Affordable Care Act.

Professor Lawrence Jacobs of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs thinks the administration needs to change its strategy. He says President Obama needs to stop being partisan and talk dollars and cents, targeting the people who need to sign up — especially the young and healthy.

Jacobs joins Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss what he thinks President Obama should do.

Interview Highlights: Lawrence Jacobs

“He’s got three tasks ahead of him:

  • "He’s got to grab the attention of people who are really not locked in if they are uninsured. He’s got to hold the attention of people who may have been distracted by the botched rollout beginning October 1.
  • "Second, he’s got to engage people. We know from the exchange in Massachusetts that on average, each person who enrolled had about 18 different contacts – either with someone in the community or with the exchange or call center. That means the president needs to get people willing to muddle through what may be some confusion having nothing to do with the problems of the website – it’s just difficult to buy insurance.
  • "And then third, he needs people to act. Both to finish and complete the application, and then, very importantly, to pay the premium. If you don’t pay the premium, the insurance companies are not going to cover you.

"The president, every time he dives into the partisan quicksand, he loses the ability to communicate that, particularly with the folks who are uninsured — some of whom are independent, many of whom are young people — who have some real doubts about the president and have some real doubts about health insurance reform. So for this moment, he needs to become the salesman and chief."


This segment aired on December 11, 2013.


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