Throwing Worse Money After Bad


Much has been made about Americans for Prosperity’s prodigious spending on an ad campaign opposed to the new health-care law.

But another player, which is casting the program in a different light, is giving the conservative advocacy group a run for its money: the health insurance industry.

Companies such as Cigna and Kaiser Permanente poured about $40 million into television ads specifically related to Obamacare between Dec. 1 and Feb. 8, according to ad tracking firm Kantar Media. That is far more than AFP, which as of last week had dropped about $27 million on ads since August attacking politicians who supported the program.


According to Enroll Maven, ♡bamaCare!!! enrollment stands at 1,903,190 or $21 of ad money per customer. Paying customers, as we learned earlier, is a slightly reduced metric. In states where insurers have released data, only between 50% to 66% of “customers” have actually paid up. That would drive the price-per-customer up to $30 or more.

Let’s remember something else. Around 80% of the paying customers were people desperately needing new insurance after ♡bamaCare!!! canceled their old policies. You wouldn’t think they needed to see a TV ad to remember to get covered. That would bring the cost-per-customer up to nearly $160.

I don’t know much about TV advertising, but that seems expensive to me, especially given all the additional “free” advertising paid for with our tax dollars and all the free publicity provided by the mainstream media, blogs, etc.

New Coke, anyone?

Anyway, the story comes from WaPo’s Sandhya Somashekhar, who reminds us:


The insurer spending was widely expected. The industry has a lot to lose if people – particularly young and healthy ones, who don’t cost a lot to insure – do not sign up for health insurance in droves this year.

Just don’t call it a death spiral.


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