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Robert Winner

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Should the federal government spend $684 million on marketing ads for Obamacare?

An article in MSN Money states that the ad barrage is expected to begin before October, when people can sign up for the program. The spots will run across radio, television and social media.

The article states there are about 16% of people living in the US that are without health insurance. Government surveys state that those 16% are unaware of Obamacare and must be informed. If you have radio, TV, or a computer for social media .... you have already heard of Obamacare ...

We see the State Department spending 863 K on favorable votes on facebook and the Health Dept spending 684 Million on Obamacare ads. The purpose of ads are to influence your thoughts, to market, to sell. Is that the job of the government?

Should all laws passed have a attached budget for ad campaigns.

Should the government be involved in ad campaigns at the taxpayers expense?

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  • Jul 26 2013: How else can the word get out?
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      Jul 26 2013: George, Obamacare has been in the news almost daily for a number of years, It was a campaign issue. It is like yelling free ice cream in a grade school playground. I had never heard of free phones ... but everyone on food stamps had one.

      The fastest way to get the word out is word of mouth. I can promise you that all free programs are known to everyone who remotely believes they can get another freebie.

      I have lived in the "poor part of town" and I promise you that in a month or so there will be a "pony" of how to best answer the questions to get "free" insurance. These people have played the game for a long time. They have made it a art form we call generational welfare.

      I have been there and think you are selling them short.

      Thanks for the reply. Bob.
    • Jul 26 2013: George.
      I just tried to start a new conversation.
      The topic is a bit hot. I doubt TED will do it.
      But I hope that I am wrong.

      Too much money is being wasted in Washington DC.
      The citizens are unaware of the excesses.
      They want social programs, they elect liars, and hope for the best.
      It never goes the way they expect.
      The liars, lie to those who's votes they stole.
      Life goes on in Washington DC.
      Quid pro quo. (literally, something for something)
      • Jul 26 2013: The biggest problem is Citizens United This time the SCOTUS treats a corporation as a person but in a more harmful way. Importing surplus workers creates problems for us as well as lower wages for the employers. This is discussed in Samuelson's introductory economics text. And where is Tom Joad when you need him. They want lower wages but not to pay the taxes. Your lower wages.
        • Jul 26 2013: george lockwood 30+

          I must confess, I know nothing about Citizens United.
          So I am completely in the dark.

          I hold the viewpoint of a Health Plan Administrator.
          So spending money is plain and simple a no-no.

          The Congress will try to plug holes in Obamacare, but it will fail,
          not because of bad intentions, but because, just like Hillary Clinton tried
          to do earlier on, at the start of the Clinton Administration, those who
          decide listened to the Health Insurance Corporation's advisors.

          Using those advisors as the "Fox to Guard the Hen House"
          isn't the smartest thing to do.
          ===
          Back to our present day -- the whole of Obamacare will cease,
          Not long after the Health Insurance Corporations have milked our
          government dry, and sold to followers who will share the left-overs.
          ===
          The Single Payer Plan, if structured right, would have been the right
          way to solve the needs and pay (with taxes) the costs of a National
          Plan of Healthcare, with a government administration, for our nation.
          ===
          Obama is not at fault here. He is only wrong.
          He only wanted to give his black brothers a legacy,
          of which, they could be proud. At least he tried.
      • Jul 27 2013: Citizens United is a United States Supreme Court case that allows even more money including corporate money into political races. Other countries aren't so bad about campaigns as we are.

        Also, we all have different opinions, but I don't see the positives of the '50's '60's '70's or '80's returning in our lives. What do I mean by positives - Jobs almost universal health insurance or insurance that pays consistently.

        Other advanced countries have universal health care I hope we haven't become such buffoons that we can't do something like the German system. Which I guess the Romney Mass. system was modeled after which Obamacare was modeled after. I hope this works better than you expect. But as I get older I believe the pre-existing game is evil.
        • Jul 27 2013: george lockwood 30+ thanks for the explanation.

          I can recall not so very long ago the US Supreme Court allowing Union money
          into political races. I was a bit upset to say the least.

          But as I get older I believe the pre-existing game is evil. It truly is evil.

          I'm reading a condensed version of the run up to WW2. Europe was always
          building armies and warring. It's is like the flu. ..The US Federal Governmant
          has had the damned war-flu now for 237 years.

          But an interesting thing -- The 50 States themselves have lived undisturbed by
          strife, turmoil, or disagreement; tranquil.with one another, for 150+ years.
      • Jul 28 2013: That's generally true. but the Great Depression was during my Dad's lifetime , and was over less than a decade before I was born. That may not be as bad as a war, but some youngsters may experience something almost as bad as the alleged Great Depression. Maybe worse if the job situation gets worse. But i think what you were otherwise describing is called unfortunately "The Great Game."
        • Jul 28 2013: George, I want to make a better reply but my mind is into a history book
          about, WW1, the run up to WW2, and the WAR itself. I see parallels
          between then and now. I also see the corruption, and their parallels.

          Today's Government is trying to force citizens to accept Health Insurance
          in a 'misguided way'. ..Allowing Health Insurance Corporate Employees
          to advise and consent to, or deny Medical Care payment, in advance of
          procedures and services to be rendered, is just plain crazy.

          Doctor's Corporate representatives and Health Insurance Corporate
          representatives make decisions that benefit the Doctor's and the
          Health Insurance Corporations, not patients.

          The Patient, totally unaware, and left out, without any say in the matter.
          Usually, a phone call tells the patient to try again, elsewhere.

          the Maxim: "No Payment, No Service"
          ===
          In the park next to my apt are homeless men and women who nap
          on the grass. A few block away is a culvert beside the freeway, built to be
          used by kids with their skateboards, and now a place to camp.

          There are few jobs that will allow them to re-enter society's mainstream.
          Catch-22 of a sort.

          Many I notice are older men and women. The younger ones beg at the
          entrances of supermarket parking lots. A couple of years ago, there was
          drunkenness and dope problems. Today what little money these people
          get from welfare, is less, and the Government plans to be cutting some.
          Churches have taken up the slack. Weekly foods.
          ===
          A lifetime of servitude for a non-guaranteed education.

          American's youths are being twisted into debtors early on by the Government's
          push to provide educational loans that various types of colleges use to provide
          choices of educations sold, with no guarantees as to the value of their products.

          The widening gap of salaries between Teachers-Professors, those College and
          University Sport Coach's, and University Corporation Presidents and CEO's,
          rivals Wall Street...
      • Jul 29 2013: Yes everything is a mess. Myself and I may be alone I would have supported an expansion of medicare.
        • Jul 30 2013: Sorry for the late reply George.
          Dr.'s appointment at the VA.

          The VA's Hospital and Clinics are nationwide. It is the best system of
          healthcare in the nation. They have their act together. I have personal
          knowledge. In my last 6 months stay, I heard not one harsh word spoken
          by any VA employee to any Patient. No matter how difficult it must have
          been at different times. The care is genuine. Pain is addressed in a
          caring fashion. The Patient's Bill of Rights is upheld.

          Rather than forcing us all to toss money into greedy Health Insurance
          Corporation's pockets, the next President needs to extract us all.
          Using a whip to force poor people to purchase what they cannot afford is nuts.
          The only thing that will be accomplished, is mailboxes full of IRS lien notices,
          and some very upset citizens.

          Spending $Millions for ads is crazy, just following what Bush did.
          I still receive solicitations on Parchment-grade paper, paid for by the
          government, to get me to join one of Bush's RX pill plans.
          Every crook in the nation got on that bandwagon.
          They have milked it to death. Party time for the crooks.
          And we pay for it.

          All the time the NSA and DHS are working hard to find phone and
          computer spies to turn over to the FBI. Party time for the Federal crooks too.
          And we pay for it.

          George, have you noticed that all the Spy Agencies have 'very recently' been
          upgraded with brand new Directors. All except the Military's Spy Agencies.
          Church mice couldn't be quieter than our government.

          If you get a chance, google Microsoft's recent memo to their employees.
          read down to the center of it, to where it explains their two customers.
          You and I, and the other kind. Then google that. See if you can find them.
          I did. You may want to move off-shore. Antarctica or Australia hahaha
      • Jul 31 2013: Thanks for your note on the VA My business went under so I had my cataract surgery there. Dallas is a teaching hospital I had a great result. I no longer need glasses as I always did and both cataracts were removed.
        • Jul 31 2013: Try looking for that Microsoft Memo,
          and follow where it leads you.
          I get a little bit ansy when the Army's IA sight says
          "Do Not Enter".
          That was when I decided to shut the computer down. lol
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    Jul 26 2013: Congress passes Obamacare. Employers can't cope with it. Layoffs and hiring freezes ensue. The luckier of the newly unemployed can only find contract, part-time employment usually with no benefits. Non-socialist capitalists want the whole debacle repealed. Even the ignorant and apathetic are beginning to have bad feelings about it all. Americans are not quite ready for full-blown Socialism so they need to be sold on the idea. That is an expensive advertising challenge. You ask if the people who don't want Obamacare should pay for the propaganda campaign designed to make them want it? I say no and I really wish my elected representatives had said no way back before the kool-aid was ready. I get to vote again soon and I will make my voice heard.
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    Jul 25 2013: Robert.
    There is a slight taint to this..... I am not sure about "ads" The government has an existing office to provide information to consumers out in Pueblo Co. It is their jobs to prepare and distribute all information on government programs to the public... Why is there an extra special ad program at more expense.... If I see ads for healthcare and voter registration and help with absentee ballots... I will get my nose adjusted.
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      Jul 25 2013: Mike the article was in MSN Money and clearly stated that "many" ad agencies are preparing ads and commercials. This lead me to believe that this was contracted outside of the government.

      You can read the article and see if I am on the wrong track .... please.

      Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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    • Jul 26 2013: John S. 10+
      An apology is in order.
      I apologize John

      I missed my early morning insulin shot.
      I never could be nice in that circumstance.

      When I coach, and find myself in my student's face,
      my student never flinches, and quietly asks me if
      I've had my morning insulin shot.

      Sorry for the hassle John.
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        • Jul 26 2013: John S. 10+
          Using my manners, I well respond.
          My response I refer to you John, is the one given
          to Mr. George Lockwood's conversation above.

          My response, while not addressing your topic head on,
          is the best I can do today. lol

          Geographical Governments are in decline. Unseen as yet
          by all but a very few of us. The Internet, or some such device
          will soon rear it's head and become popular. Over the next
          several hundred years, the two may morph one into another
          and become a non-government or some such thing.

          So politics as we understand will melt away.
          I hope so. Typing is so slow. hahaha
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    Jul 31 2013: Most people today have completely missed the whole point of advertising. Back in its day, about 50 years ago, the basic idea was to inform people of a new product or service. Today, the only way to get the message out is to catch the viewer/listener completely off guard with something "original" or funny. The norm however involves subliminal messages. Recently I read that the average person has to hear the same message 40-50 times subliminally before the brain registers it.

    One showing of a 30-second ad during the Superbowl now costs in excess of $3 million. It wouldn't take long at that rate to spend $684 million. But wait, how much will it cost to "create" that ad?

    Personally, I see no point to this Obamacare! Those who do have medical insurance are now beginning to get penalized with lesser services and higher costs for what's remaining, while Medicare is trying to take over those services and products. Those who don't have medical insurance have always been taken care of by community hospitals, picking up the tab. So what's the need for this Obamacare? Simple, 99.99% political. How to earn some brownie points with those who are "too poor" to even go and take advantage of what is already available free of charge in most locales. Take from those who have and give to those who have not! Robin Hood; Barack Obama; Butch Cassidy...not much difference!
  • Jul 29 2013: Only if they can really tell us the truth about what the care plan will do for all people. Including the benefits and limits of the program.

    Otherwise, if you haven't heard about it, you won't pay attention to another media blitz either.
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      Jul 29 2013: Yeah I agree. It is hard for me to believe that it will be news to anyone. News of another freeby would spread through the eligible community like a wild fire. Within a week there will be "ponies" of how to "properly" answer both the state and federal questionnaires.

      This money would be better spent setting up stands at Wal Mart to help filling out and submitting the forms.

      By the way you made a excellent point ... that we still do not know the truth. the benefits, or limits of the program or the costs to the states and federal taxes that will be required to support massive social programs.

      Thanks for the reply. I wish you well. Bob.
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    Jul 28 2013: The last 25 years of my career was working in countries that had social medicine provided. It was good basic care and the people accepted the wait and the minimalism of the service. Hospitalization was in large ward with as many as 20 patients separated by curtains.... think summer camp. There were delays non emergency treatment.. Now the bill for free medical care came in the form of withholding sort of like Medicare. In Germany, for example it was at about 19%.
    The bottom line is that most of the democratic socialize European countries we seem to want to emulate, give a great deal to have these free services.... as much as half of their earned income. On top of that these countries have income tax or a federal sales tax( in my time) of 18%
    Is this the future of the US?
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    Jul 26 2013: OMG Robert, how could you imply or suggest that AHA is somehow questionable and there may be a waste of public funds in "selling" this program to the American people. I mean how could you imply some improper activity in biggest ponzi scheme since medicare.. Think of the thousands of jobs government will have to provide to enact the 20000 pages of laws, regulations and forms that will require compliance. Think of all those doctors who will either bail out of the business or join into large conglomerates that will allow only 10 minutes per patient for diagnosis and treatment. You didn't even consider all the chronic ailments that will now be given cure by dates. Hey, you got diabetes and you didn't get cured in 90 days, no more insulin for you.
    People have to be told that they can get free flu shots and by the way they got to buy health insurance or pay additional taxes as a punishment for not playing the games. This is not an easy sell. It's going to take a lot of movie stars to get out there and they are expensive..
    Robert.... you are sounding a little like you are not in the game....
    PS, please don't take this personally and get me flagged
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      Jul 26 2013: Mike, I think there is some sarcasm that dripped onto your shirt LOL.

      At 70 I personally like the medical death sentence that awaits me.

      I respond .... not flag.

      Enjoyed your reply. All the best. Bob.
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    • Jul 28 2013: Mike,
      The conglomerates, IMO, can't "get away" with 10 munutes doctor time for each patient because
      1. the Senate just come up with an idea of setting up a "study group" which will stipulate the controlled "price" of doctor's fees by $$ charge per minute on each patient, based on the "average" they see fit for the Obama Care budget.
      2. under the so-called optimal health maintenance program of the ACA, the doctor has to discuss most of the prenventive measure and the healthy habit, such as weight loss, exercises and other unhealthy addictions with each patient to make the patients more healthy. That takes time for the doctors.
      Finally, the ad campaign is just the beginning, the Obama Care also planned to hire large number of "advisors" to "help" the citizens to enroll in the new insurance. There will be 18,000 such advisors in the state of California alone. Furthermore, there will be ad or promoyion by the pro athletes and movie stars on radio and TV. I wonder how much that will cost us.
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      Jul 26 2013: Your threats do not impress me. You continue to look for fights not discussions.
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    Jul 25 2013: The question of how to get information out to people about services available to them is one that governments and other members of the community confront. This is made the more challenging because people have access to and use different sources of information and in some cases have difficulty understanding materials because of language or other impediments.

    We can see that different organizations use different strategies, including billboards, fliers in the mail, and radio spots.

    I cannot guess which strategies are most effective at reaching a diversity of people, but I have to believe this has been thoroughly researched.

    The United Way has a useful program here called Bridge to Basics in which volunteers are trained to assist people who arrive at various designated locations to figure out what sorts of housing, utilities, and health care assistance are available to them.
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      Jul 25 2013: I think that places like "Bridge to Basics" are going to be in high demand. The gov't released a copy of the application (32 pages and 1000 questions) to be completed after you do the state forms, just to see if you are eligible. You will be required to provide information about your employer and all family members much of which is very personal. All information will be processed through a group of federal agencies to validate your answers .... the IRS is primary to see if your tax returns matches your answers.

      The questions are pretty straight forward .... some will take some effort on your part to garner the information required.

      I have not heard of any states that have the applications available yet ... primarily because there are still some questions about minimums.

      I agree that people will need help ... the $684 million could be used setting up a desk at Wal Mart manned by volunteers .... cost almost zero.

      I went to "How to apply for Obamacare" on the web. Lots of info.

      As always thanks for the reply. Bob.
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        Jul 25 2013: Actually if there are really 1000 questions, that will not be straightforward for many people, regardless of what those questions are.