California is spending $45 million from now through March on a publicity campaign for Obamacare. The state will spend another $35 million through next year. The funds came from a taxpayer-funded federal grant.
The Hill says California state officials decided not to go with a glitzy Hollywood celebrity publicity campaign and will instead target their message to average Californians.
Three television ads, including a Spanish-language commercial, are set to sell “Covered California,” the state’s name for its Obamacare healthcare exchange.
“We’ve done the background research to make sure we reach people in waysthat are specific to their hopes, fears and concerns and that reflectthe rich diversity of California’s population,” said Covered CaliforniaExecutive Director Peter Lee.
States have their marketing work cut out for them. A new Kaiser Health tracking poll found that 44% of Americans are not even sure if Obamacare is still a law. Another poll by Gallup found that 43% of uninsured Americans are unaware that under Obamacare they must obtain health insurance or face fines and penalties.
Obamacare’s lengthy list of implementation delays may also present a challenge to California’s publicity campaign. Last week Reuters reported that California “wouldconsider a soft launch of its exchange if tests show it is not ready toaccommodate wide public access.”
Obamacare’s grand opening is in four weeks.