Democrats head home with ObamaCare messaging strategy in hand

Besides the behemoth task of actually setting up and operating the many facets of ObamaCare in short order, the Obama administration is also desperately grappling with the task of ‘educating the public’ on ObamaCare’s so-called benefits; i.e., convincing people that they should actually sign up for the proffered insurance deals through the forthcoming exchanges. The health care overhaul’s popularity is struggling, but in order for the system to even have a chance of getting off the ground successfully, they need people to sign up and start paying up en masse — particularly the young and healthy people who won’t actually end up needing much health care coverage.

The administration is organizing their own various campaigns to get the good progressive word out to the largely uninformed public in time, and with the administration’s and the Democrats’ interests obviously very much aligned in terms of making ObamaCare at least look like a winner ahead of the 2014 elections, the Democrats have been getting to work, too. Congress it out of session this week, but the Democratic caucus left the Hill with their marching orders on how to sell ObamaCare to their constituents in the form of some handy-dandy messaging “toolkits” from the party leadership. Via Roll Call:

The Democratic Steering and Policy Committee sent members back to their districts last week armed with “Affordable Care Act Toolkits,” meticulously organized binders containing every piece of information lawmakers could possibly need to communicate the nuances of the law to their constituents.

“Reforming our health care system is an historic opportunity to make health care more affordable and bring the kind of change we were all elected to achieve for the American people,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and committee co-chairmen Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Robert E. Andrews of New Jersey wrote in a May 22 introductory letter accompanying each toolkit, one of which was obtained by CQ Roll Call.

“Nothing could be more important,” the letter continues, “which is why we now want to educate our constituents about the new law, help to implement it, and strengthen the hands of those who have worked for this historic reform.”

BuzzFeed has a copy of the 78-page packet on which Democrats have been working for months, if you care to take a gander; it’s chock-full of resources that encourage members to focus on rhetorical gems like “no denial for pre-existing conditions” and “women are charged the same rates as men” and etcetera; to work on their outreach to and collaboration with nonprofits and groups like Planned Parenthood; as well as to mention the range of available tax credits and the specific guidelines for groups like seniors and small businesses and whatnot:

The document is also optimistic about the cost of these plans: “A significant majority of people in the new Marketplaces will pay the same or less than they do for their coverage right now,” it says, citing tax credits available for health-care premiums.

The pamphlet focuses on detailed advice for how to sell the legislation to specific groups of people.

“Do an event on being a woman no longer being treated as a ‘pre-existing condition,’” it advises.

Nothing particularly new, but these are the talking points with which Democrats are going to be going on the offensive, and Republicans are going to have plenty of punching back to do.