White House seeks to control ObamaCare message with health groups

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The Obama administration is seeking to coordinate a press strategy with the healthcare stakeholders who were invited to the White House on Tuesday to discuss the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The Hill obtained an email sent by a White House official on Monday night with suggestions on how the healthcare officials should deal with the media.


The email, written by a senior communications White House official, states, “I wanted to propose some ideas for how we suggest handling press inquiries around tomorrow’s meeting and make sure we’re all on the same page heading into tomorrow."

The White House informed the participants that it wouldn’t release their names or the names of their organizations ahead of time, but asked if they’d be comfortable if a summary of the meeting were released to the media afterwards.

“If you all are generally OK, we can work together on some common language tomorrow to describe the meeting and who attends that we can use with press afterwards — again if it makes sense,” the email continues.

The email went to representatives from the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Group Association, the American Osteopathic Organization, the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and Doctors for America.

The email is a clear indication that the White House, which is seeking to rally partners in the healthcare community who have been discouraged by the botched ObamaCare rollout, is keenly aware of the politically sensitive nature of every news event surrounding the ACA.

“As you all know there is an especially high interest in anything related to health care — so please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or concerns about any of this,” the email says.

The healthcare groups will meet with Chris Jennings and Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistants for health policy, on topics including the “January transition to marketplace coverage.”

Those hoping to use coverage they’ve purchased under the healthcare law by Jan. 1 must have purchased a plan by Dec. 23.

But in addition to the problem-plagued website for consumers, the healthcare launch has been hindered by insurance companies receiving flawed data from the federal exchanges, which could potentially complicate the looming December deadlines. 

White House email