OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Insurance companies ramp up enrollment blitz

Insurance companies are providing a boost to the Obama administration with their own campaigns to publicize healthcare plans on ObamaCare's new insurance marketplaces.

Though quiet about the unpopular healthcare law, the efforts are expected to cost health insurers hundreds of millions of dollars in 2014 alone between television, radio and online ads.


The campaigns are increasingly relevant around the country as ObamaCare's enrollment period turns the corner into its final month.

The exchanges have signed up 4 million people for private plans so far, the administration said Tuesday, and insurance companies are ramping up their efforts to reach more consumers before it's too late.

"They're going to put a lot of their gunpowder behind this final run to the deadline," said Scott Roskowski, chief development officer at TVB, a trade group for local commercial broadcasters.

"The insurers themselves have substantially increased their advertising budgets to attract more of the uninsured," he added.

Read more Thursday in The Hill.

ENROLLMENT BLITZ, PART II: An ObamaCare enrollment group with close ties to the White House is launching a final, coordinated push to sign people up for health insurance ahead of the March 31 deadline. A spokesman for Enroll America told The Hill the prominent nonprofit had grown its pool of volunteers to nearly 20,000, increased its field reach by 35 percent, hired more than 70 new employees since January and increased its digital advertising budget from $5 million to $7 million for 2014.

The group’s “Countdown to Get Covered” will include a bus tour through Texas and Ohio, with stops at events popular with youths, like the SXSW music festival, and more than 3,000 events assisting people with in-person enrollment. Jonathan Easley at The Hill reports.

2016: The Republican National Committee is tying prospective Democratic presidential contender Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBudowsky: Closing message for Democrats Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP mocks Clinton after minor vehicle collision outside Mendendez campaign event MORE to ObamaCare in a new memo as Clinton addresses a healthcare industry conference on Wednesday.

The memo is a preview of attacks Republicans will lob at Clinton if she decides to run for president in 2016 — as most Democrats believe she will — and is an indication they believe healthcare reform would be a major liability for her. In the memo, the RNC argues that Clinton’s healthcare reform proposal from her 2008 run for president was “ObamaCare on steroids.”

Alexandra Jaffe at The Hill reports.


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusProgressives set to test appeal of prairie populism in Kansas primary Overcoming health-care challenges by moving from volume to value Mr. President, let markets help save Medicare MORE will give the keynote address at the Care Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C. The event is sponsored by The Aspen Institute and The Advisory Board Co. and will feature several prominent speakers, including National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). 

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on counterfeit drugs.

The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health will hold a markup on several public health bills, including The Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act. 

The House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science will hold a hearing on federal investments in neuroscience.

A coalition of right-leaning think tanks will host a healthcare conference at the National Press Club featuring a panel of GOP lawmakers and a debate between experts Avik Roy and Ezra Klein.

State by State:

Could Medicaid expansion debate turn into an immigration issue in Florida?

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) is confident his GOP-run legislature will accept Medicaid expansion.

Maryland fires health exchange firm.

Reading List:

Can ObamaCare avoid a consumer rebellion?

ObamaCare ‘horror stories’ fall apart.

What you may have missed at HealthWatch:

Sebelius lashes out at GOP governors.

Holder, Sebelius tout billions in healthcare fraud recoveries.

Poll: Most uninsured not aware of ObamaCare deadline.

CBO: GOP ObamaCare bill would increase deficit, uninsured.