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Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Obama’

The First Mom’s Push on Obamacare

This is an interesting article from the Washington Post on how Michelle Obama is getting ready to roll out a media campaign urging young people to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare. I love that her previous focus has been on organic, fresh food and that she has overseen a “Let’s Move” campaign for youth. Because food and exercise are going to be a key factor in keeping health care spending down as the health insurance landscape changes over the coming decades.

What the article doesn’t say is that Obamacare hinges on people buying in, especially the young, because the cost of insuring each individual covered depends on the number of people in the system. Will 2.5 million healthy young men buy in or will they default and pay the 95 dollar fine instead? I already know lots of business owners are planning to pay the fine because they won’t be able to afford the mandate to provide health insurance to their employees. 

I also think it’s impressive that Sen. Roy Blunt is trying to encourage Republicans to consider ways to provide universal access by allowing small businesses and individuals to join together to get better rates by shopping across state lines.  I would like to see states join together to set up similar purchasing pools that would give them more leverage in negotiating better rates and coverage. 

If there is good news here, it is that we seem to have reached the tipping point on access. And both sides are inching towards each other on how to provide it. Michelle Obama’s campaign for healthy eating and exercise shows the Democrats recognize personal responsibility will be a key factor in keeping costs down. And Roy Blunt calling for universal access shows Republicans do care about the little guy .

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Obamacare backers launch campaign, want moms to convince their youths to get coverage

By , Published: July 6

The Obama administration and its allies need lots of healthy young adults to sign up for insurance this fall to make the president’s health-care law successful.

So they are going after their moms.

They put up Web ads on Facebook and alongside slogans such as “Moms know best: ‘Get yourself health insurance.’ ” They have enlisted the help of parent-activist groups such as Moms Rising, which has already begun mobilizing its vast network of more than 1 million members and 3 million e-mail subscribers on behalf of the health-care law.

They are collaborating with Elle and Cosmopolitan magazines, organizing mom-oriented wine-and-cheese parties and preparing commercials that will run during shows popular with mothers, such as “Good Morning America.” And soon, they plan to deploy first lady Michelle Obama, the nation’s mother in chief, who has already put her stamp on health-care with her anti-obesity “Let’s Move!” campaign.

The targeted messaging is part of an enormous grass-roots campaign mobilizing this summer and fall to persuade uninsured people to sign up for coverage beginning Oct. 1, when systems are expected to be in place for them to find benefits as well as financial assistance from the government, if they qualify.

But it may not be an easy sell, and the effort comes at a time of increasing doubts about the viability of the health-care law. Last week, the administration disclosed it was delaying a key provision that would have required large employers to offer health coverage to all full-time workers.

That came on the heels of an announcement by the National Football League that it probably would not lend its name to the law’s promotion efforts — a particular blow in the campaign for young men.

The share of 19- through 25-year-olds who lack coverage has dwindled since the passage of the law, which requires insurers to cover children up to age 26. But 41 percent were still uninsured in 2012, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

Costly campaigns

The White House is aiming initially to sign up 2.7 million healthy young adults for coverage. Young men especially are cheap to insure and are therefore critical to keeping the law on a good financial footing.

As it stands, however, advocates worry that young men will forgo insurance and instead pay the fine, which begins at $95 for the first year.

As a result, insurers, advocates, hospitals and others eager to see the law succeed are mounting costly campaigns to persuade people, particularly young and healthy ones, to buy insurance. And many see mothers as a potent part of that effort.

“In the end, it will be the moms of America who are going to decide if their families get coverage,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who has conducted focus groups for health exchanges in three states. “They will decide and then insist their children and husbands sign up.”

Women, Lake said, are responsible for 80 percent of the health-care spending decisions for families, and they will probably be the ones to delve deeply into the new health insurance options and obligations under the law.

Their influence is particularly strong among men under age 26, who are a key target of advocates because they rarely use medical services and are therefore cheap to insure.

According to her research, when asked whom they would turn to for trusted information about the health-care law, the top answer in that demographic was their mothers.

Mothers, however, have been turned off by the divisive nature of the debate over the law, Lake said.

Even for mothers engaged in politics, the law’s close association with President Obama is not always a plus. While unmarried moms overwhelmingly supported him in last year’s election, married mothers leaned slightly toward Obama’s Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, who had promised to try to repeal the health-care law, exit polls show.

A poll commissioned by Enroll America, a large umbrella group mounting a multimillion-dollar enrollment effort this year, shows that while many poor, uninsured women would like coverage, they are skeptical that they will be able to afford it even with government assistance.

Hadley Heath, health policy analyst for the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, said she believes mothers will ultimately advise their children based on what is best for them, not politics. But as a 25-year-old, she said she finds the mom focus a little condescending.

“I’d rather they talk to me rather than my mom, because I make my own decisions and pay my own bills,” she said.

The administration has already begun its outreach to mothers, with a series of events in conjunction with Mother’s Day in May. In addition to Cosmo, they have reached out to Elle and Ms. Magazine and forged a partnership with Text4baby, a text-
messaging information service for pregnant women and new moms that has more than 500,000 subscribers.

Putting a face on the issue

An official said all the primary White House figures, including Obama, Vice President Biden and Michelle Obama, will eventually be out publicly urging the uninsured to sign up for coverage.

“What Michelle says will be important, because moms really love her,” Lake said.

Enroll America is planning targeted outreach to mothers, including a series of mom-oriented house parties this summer, President Anne Filipic said, adding that they view moms as a top messenger along with doctors. Health officials in Oregon are taking things one step further by targeting grandmothers.

A group poised to become more visible because of its activism around the health-care law is Moms Rising, a nonprofit group that formed in 2006. The group has a “wellness wonder team” of mothers who have pledged to learn about the law and spread the word about its benefits. It also plans to highlight the stories of women and mothers who have already benefited from the law.

“A lot of times, [moms’] stories relate to their children, and their children are their hearts,” said Lisa Doyle, 55, a Moms Rising member in Minnesota, explaining why she thinks mothers’ opinions are so powerful on this issue. “You go out there and you talk with your heart. All of a sudden, all this health-care talk has a face.”


Scott Clement and Sarah Kliff contributed to this report.



So long as you do well, Bear.

I don’t think it is productive to criticize a First Lady’s speech because you would hope they would get up and show the love. And that’s just what Michelle Obama did. My favorite line was when she talked about how Barack Obama’s grandmother used to say to him that she didn’t mind sacrificing, telling him, “So long as you do well, Bear.” As someone who voted for Obama, I will just say that we disagree on the fix. There is no doubt President Barack Obama is a good guy. The Republicans would be wasting time to try to convince voters otherwise. But his own wife said it best when she said, “the stakes are high.” And, “there is no margin for error.” Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is funny but doesn’t always show it. He is a bit of a Boy Scout and if he has a fault, it is that he gums up a little bit when asked to sell himself.  That’s modesty and I think it is genuine. His business experience and track record on financial matters speak for themselves, though. Much as I admire the First Lady on a personal level, and thought she did a nice job Tuesday night, we have to acknowledge it is a “long game.” More than 40% of Americans say they are worse off than they were four years ago. So, Moms across the country need to pause and consider what more of the same would mean for all of our “little bears.” 

Walking the tightrope ....

Walking the tightrope ….

Michelle Obama says she works out to the song, “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae. So do I. It’s an upbeat energizing mix about straddling the inherent tensions in life. But, it’s interesting to think how she must feel gearing up for tonight’s convention. She is facing a bit of a tightrope walk at tonight’s Democratic National Convention. Sing President Barack Obama’s praises too wildly and she could appear out of touch with the sense of disappointment and hardship a lot of voters see in the job market and in the economy overall. Focus on it too much and she could sound defensive.

What an interesting week it will be. Three core groups that were part of the wave of excitement that swept the first African-American President into office – women, Independents and students – are not necessarily mute this time around. But, there is no mistaking they are subdued.

Romney didn’t get a bounce out of last week. Even if he didn’t get a pop for his particular speech, which I thought he might, there’s no doubt his wife and Paul Ryan resonated with viewers. Some are questioning whether conventions really ever result in a significant bounce anymore. John Kass, of the Chicago Tribune said last week it isn’t that voters who went for Obama in 2008 haven’t decided whether they are satisfied or disappointed with the President, it’s that they are still getting to know Romney. 

The Democrats and the Republicans have opposite platforms.  So, once again, both parties appear to have failed to consider that what voters want most is for their to be bi-partisan progress. The Democrats have put gay marriage and abortion at the top of theirs, in part you could argue, because they want to downplay the economy. I wonder why Republicans had to put either issue on a platform when the truth is the economy is paramount this time around. Did they really need to announce to all those women and Independents the official party line on social issues?

Click here for a look at both parties’ platforms according to the New York Times.




Republicans need to court Swingles

Republicans need to court Swingles

Swingles, or single women voters, now make up 20% of the electorate, according to the New York Times. That is a huge voting bloc that needs to be recognized and addressed. The Times notes that married women still favor Republicans but single women tend to be much more sympathetic towards President Barack Obama and don’t necessarily blame him for the ailing economy.  For the record, I’m still voting for Romney. But this is an important area where the Republicans have an opportunity to remind single women of the many ways that they are affected. One of the most obvious ways is that the unemployment figures for this group are 11%, which is higher than the national average. The Republicans need to make the connection clear to those who can least afford it.

NY Times report on why married women voters favor Romney


It's the ladies, by a long shot, in the latest popularity polls

It’s the ladies, by a long shot, in the latest popularity polls

According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post polls, Ann Romney is even more popular than Mitt Romney. Michelle Obama is more popular than Barack Obama and even Hillary Clinton is more popular than at any other time in her 20 years on the political stage. Could it be that a partisan weary public sees women as better negotiators and more capable of compromise? The concern I have with this poll is that two-thirds of moderate voters polled said they view both Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton favorably. Only slightly more than 40 percent said the same about Ann Romney. That could be because she is less known. Michelle Obama’s numbers could be the legacy of the cover girl treatment she received in the 2008 elections and Hillary Clinton has been working so hard for so many years, even those who don’t like her politics have grown to respect her, myself included. So, what can Ann Romney do between now and Election Day 2012 to boost her numbers with independents and moderates? I think we just need to see and hear more from her. I heard her on Piers Morgan recently and she talked mostly about Mitt, which isn’t inappropriate, since he is the candidate. But moderate women may want to hear what it is like to juggle a large family when your husband is running for President or what it was like to have multiple sclerosis or her opinions on some of the issues at the forefront this year. Actually, it might create a little Barbara Bush spark if she shared an issue that they don’t agree on. It won’t change his position but it will show who she is apart from her husband. Just a thought!


Michelle Obama and Ann Romney outscore their husbands in personal popularity in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while Hillary Clinton, for her part, has hit a new high in favorability data stretching back to her entry on the national stage 20 years ago.

Clinton and Obama both are far better known than Romney, helping boost them to much higher popularity ratings overall. All three are rated unfavorably by roughly similar numbers, 24 percent for Obama, 27 percent for Clinton and 30 percent for Romney.

All told, Obama is seen favorably by 69 percent of the public, unfavorably by 24 percent – not her best rating (76-16 percent in March 2009) but a broadly positive one. Her favorability rating is 13 points higher than her husband’s; her unfavorable score, 16 points lower.

See PDF with full results and tables here

Romney’s rating is 40-30 percent favorable-unfavorable in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. While much less positive than Obama’s, some of that has to do with Romney’s shorter time in the spotlight: Thirty percent are undecided about her, compared with 7 percent undecided about Obama.

Romney, in any case, does better than her husband’s 35-47 percent rating last week. She’s a scant 5 points higher than Mitt Romney in favorability, but a broader 17 points lower in unfavorable ratings. As noted last week, Mitt Romney’s basic popularity ratings are the weakest for any presumptive presidential nominee in ABC/Post polls during primary seasons since 1984.

Clinton’s ratings are much like Obama’s – 65-27 percent favorable-unfavorable, a numerical high for Clinton by a single point. That reflects a turnaround from the 2008 presidential campaign, in which she lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. At this time four years ago she was seen unfavorably by 54 percent of Americans, favorably by 44 percent.

Clinton likely is boosted by her current position: As secretary of state, she’s prominent as a representative of U.S. interests and concerns overseas, without engaging in the controversial to-and-fro of domestic politics. Note too that her husband, also largely outside the fray of domestic politics these days, had an equally positive 67-29 percent favorable-unfavorable rating in a Pew poll last month, much like his wife’s, and also Michelle Obama’s, today.

There are differences in intensity of sentiment. Michelle Obama is viewed strongly favorably by 38 percent of Americans, strongly unfavorably by 12 percent. Hillary Clinton’s ratings are 33 percent strongly positive vs. 13 percent strongly negative – the latter its lowest by 13 points, and a shift from generally much greater negative intensity in past years. Intensity of views on Ann Romney are evenly divided – 11 percent strongly favorable, 13 percent strongly unfavorable.

GROUPS – Being a step away from the main political fray isn’t the same as being out of politics; indeed there are sharp partisan differences in views of these three women. Obama and Clinton both are viewed favorably by a near-unanimous 90 percent of Democrats, but by far fewer Republicans – 44 and 39 percent, respectively. Romney, by contrast, is rated favorably by 64 percent of Republicans, but 24 percent of Democrats.

In the political center, roughly two-thirds of independents express positive views of Obama and Clinton alike. Forty-two percent hold favorable opinions of Romney, again with many undecided.

There are ideological differences as well, although notably, all three women are rated favorably by roughly equal numbers – from 51 to 53 percent – of conservatives. Obama and Clinton go much higher in popularity among political moderates and liberals, while Romney heads the other way.