It would be hard to describe last year’s ObamaCare enrollment period as anything other than a disaster. It started with the hopelessly dysfunctional HealthCare.gov website. Then, when enrollment numbers fell consistently short of the administration’s projections, repeated extensions were necessary to achieve the desired final number. In light of this, one might think that there’s no way the 2015 enrollments go any worse.
Still, the supporters of ObamaCare are not going to leave anything to chance. They’re already lowering expectations by making statements about how difficult enrollments will be now that the low-hanging fruit (a rather artless metaphor for the uninsured) have already registered. They’re also working on their messaging strategy, convening focus groups to determine how best to get people to buy into a program that is, in all probability, against their self-interest.
Not out of place in an election cycle dominated by over the top, doom and gloom, end of the world proclamations, the administration is harking back to man’s most primal emotion, forged in the very earliest primordial darkness of human existence: fear.
Last year, the messaging used to encourage enrollments focused mainly on the promised benefits of ObamaCare. Since the law hadn’t come into effect yet, there was no problem with making extravagant claims (such as “if you like your plan you can keep it”) that would later prove to be false. This year, in the wake of millions of cancellations and rising premiums, the rose-colored happy sunshine messages of yesteryear will be a little harder to swallow.