In it, but not of it. TPM DC

All-Out Obamacare Outreach Campaign Underway

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AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin

Politico reported Thursday on a $12 million television ad buy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If accurate -- and it has not been confirmed by HHS -- the ads are targeted to metropolitan areas in states that have generally not been very friendly to Obamacare: Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana and Michigan.

HHS has said that it will run targeted ads in the weeks before the marketplaces open; official details are expected soon. But targeting outreach to states with big uninsured populations and unhelpful state governments, like Texas and Florida, makes sense. The White House has also said those two states in particular would be a focus during the open enrollment period that starts next month.

HHS is running the marketplace for 30-plus states, but the other 18 states that are operating their own are also starting to buy up ad space. A few of them responded to TPM's request on their advertising plans. Others have publicly announced their plans. Here's how the landscape is shaping up:


  • California: $45 million in paid advertising planned, including television ads

  • Hawaii: $1.2 million in paid advertising planned, including television ads

  • Kentucky: $1 million television ad buy thus far

  • Maryland: $2.5 million in paid advertising planned, according to the Baltimore Sun

  • Oregon: $2.9 million television ad buy planned

  • Rhode Island: $2 million in paid advertising planned, including television ads

  • Vermont: $200,000 television ad buy thus far, plan for $2 million in paid advertising

If you want to know what those advertisements might look like, check out our round-up here.

It's a heavy lift. According to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 77 percent of Americans said they know only a little or nothing at all about the law. The administration has said it didn't want to launch its outreach efforts too early, so that people wouldn't forget by the time open enrollment came around. But now it's crunch time.

The White House wants to enroll in 7 million people -- including 2.7 million young and healthy adults -- in the marketplaces by March 2014.