Why PR for Healthcare Reform is Missing its Mark

After passing a monumental healthcare reform bill earlier this year, the Obama Administration has received a lot of news coverage about implementation of the legislation. Even if you’ve read all the coverage and kept on top of the debate, you probably still wonder – implementing what? And the problematic truth is that even your doctor may be unsure.

A recent New York Times article “Doctors Hear Many Questions about the Health Law” found that both doctors and their patients, whether they supported or opposed the bill, are frustrated by the lack of information they are getting on healthcare changes. This suggests that for all the emphasis the Obama Administration placed on “selling” the healthcare plan ahead of the November midterm elections, they may be missing the mark.

The lack of information sharing is surprising from a Federal Government with a history of providing a plethora of information on related regulatory issues. For example, employers and employees can find everything from rules and requirements, to template notices and IRS tax filings from the Department of Labor website relating to the recent extension of the COBRA subsidy (designed to provide affordable healthcare to employees laid-off during the recession).

While the healthcare reform legislation is undoubtedly a more complicated animal, and confusion surrounding healthcare is unintentional, the Obama Administration’s healthcare initiative would benefit greatly from a more organized PR plan. The government has made some information available on the web at healthreform.gov, but it is largely focused on questions for individuals, not healthcare providers, and for many Americans the topic of healthcare reform is too daunting to confront without the help of a physician.

To really “sell” their plan to the public, the Obama Administration needs to shift their PR focus to the physicians and insurance brokers who are on the front lines of reform implementation, and are fielding many of the questions plaguing average Americans. Providing doctors and brokers with information to help them answer some of these questions will decrease frustration and make the issue of healthcare reform more accessible to the public.

That’s our Financial Services Practice Group’s “Two Cents – how do you think the Obama Administration should share information about healthcare reform?

To reach Erica:

Phone: 212.840.1661
Email: erica@blisspr.com
Twitter: @EricaMichel