Can PR Help Save Obamacare?

Emily Tracy  Follow

obamacare_logoMany of you have seen the headlines and the stories over the recent weeks about the massive failure of the launch of President Obama’s HealthCare.gov website.  And last week President Obama apologized to the American public for the failure of the website and for breaking his promises.

Americans have been asking the President and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, how could you have let this happen?

The Obamacare website has, to date, been nothing short of a PR disaster.  And, as a result, we have seen countless spin stories which paint a picture of how the program has already been a success to “many” uninsured Americans.

In reality, the public relations push around the Affordable Health Care Act started years ago, ranging from contracts for tens of millions of dollars to major firms. The money was slotted to fund the development of campaigns designed to drive consumers, who need help with insurance issues, to go to the Consumer Assistance Program Map page on HealthCare.gov.

Most of us in our careers have dealt with some sort of PR crisis at one point or another.  The degree of crisis has varied, of course, but the most important part of dealing with a PR crisis is to create a plan of action before the crisis arises.  As public relations professionals, it’s our job to think, and plan, ahead . . . for anything that could potentially go wrong.

The first step for developing any PR campaign is to anticipate a potential crisis.  If your team is being proactive and preparing effectively for a campaign launch then they should be able to brainstorm any headwinds or pitfalls.  And, even better, your team may realize that some situations are preventable by modifying certain areas of your operation.

Can PR save Obamacare? It doesn’t matter how successful the PR team had been at driving consumers to HealthCare.gov, if the website was ineffective then the campaign failed. End of Story

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