Ellison Barber: Pro-Obamacare Ads Will Not Overcome ‘Sticker Shock’

'They seem to be trying to change the narrative in a really interesting way'


The Washington Free Beacon’s Ellison Barber said the Obama administration has transitioned from pitching the Affordable Care Act politically to a business centered approach Tuesday on Fox News.

Given Obamacare’s disastrous rollout, Barber said the White House is trying to emphasize the “benefits” contained in new Obamacare compliant plans and focusing less on previous guarantees the president issued when campaigning on the legislation. “They’ve seen this rollout not going very well, and [people are] not responding all that great to it. So they’re pitching it from a different perspective,” Barber observed.

Host Jon Scott noted the administration appears to also be making local, small market Obamacare success anecdotes a centerpiece of their communication strategy. Barber replied the amount of ads the Obama administration produces is irrelevant. With 4.4 million consumers expected to incur health insurance sticker shock, “that’s not going to do much,” she said:

JON SCOTT: So last hour we had the story of how the White House is turning to local media, smaller markets to try to get positive stories out there about Obamacare. This is going to be a push from business who are going to be telling, you know, people to sign up, go out and get your insurance policy, but they’re not going to be calling it Obamacare.

ELLISON BARBER: Right. They seem to be really trying to push — change the narrative in a really interesting way, and it seems to be that it is taking it from a completely different strand or a different route. And so we’ll see how well that works. I do think you have to look at the fact that in most of these states people that aren’t eligible for subsidies, 1.5 million people and the number jumps up to 4.4 million when you look at it in terms of people who [only sign up for a few months], they’re still seeing sticker shock. No matter how many ads you have, that’s not going to do much, because you still have people who are having sticker shock.