Obama calls on his supporters to join ‘Team Obamacare’

Could the activists of the 2012 presidential campaign come to Obamacare’s rescue?

With the website for the nation’s new healthcare program mired in structural problems that could take weeks — if not months — to fix, President Obama appealed to his supporters in a video Tuesday to join “Team Obamacare” and help counter the law’s critics.

As he did during a Rose Garden event this week, Obama notes that, the Web portal where Americans can shop for insurance through the new federal exchange, “has not worked as smoothly as it was supposed to.”

“We’ve got people working overtime in a tech surge to boost capacity and address the problems,” the president says, “and we’re going to get it fixed.”


In the meantime, Obama reminds his supporters that consumers can buy insurance “the old-fashioned way” over the phone or in person. “That’s where I’m asking for your help,” Obama says to the camera in the video from Organizing for Action, the group that was formed from supporters and volunteers in his 2012 campaign.

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Obama asks OFA supporters to get out into their communities to assist individuals who need help signing up for coverage. In the coming weeks, Organizing for Action plans to share materials with its team members to help them talk about the law in their communities.

“We won’t be able to reach everyone who deserves the safety and security of affordable health insurance without you,” Obama says. “Fortunately that’s what you do best: organizing. So I’m asking you to help tell your friends, families, co-workers, classmates, neighbors and anyone else about what the Affordable Care Act can mean for them.”

In recent months, Organizing for Action has sought to galvanize the president’s supporters around a variety of issues including climate change and gun control. But the healthcare law is swiftly moving to the fore. The group plans to kick off some of its new efforts Nov. 4, when staff will host an Obamacare summit and “working dinner” in Washington with volunteers, founding members and partner groups who will strategize about boosting enrollment over the next six months.

For now, Organizing for Action officials are asking supporters to tweet about Obamacare and usher others into the effort by liking the Obamacare page on Facebook.

Those who sign up to join Team Obamacare on the Organizing for Action’s website are directed to a screen where they can contribute to the group: “They’re outspending us on Obamacare,” reads a message above a picture of the president at a lectern in his shirt sleeves.

“The other side has already spent a whopping $400 million in anti-Obamacare TV ads. We don’t have to beat that, but we need to have the resources to fight back.”


An analysis by Kantar Media CMAG, which tracks advertising, found that as of early July critics of the law had outspent supporters on the airwaves 5 to 1. Kantar has predicted that political and advocacy advertising surrounding the Affordable Care Act from both sides — including the airwave debate before it had even become law — will break the $1-billion mark by early 2015.

Twitter: @MaeveReston