Brand New Law! The Need to Market Health Care Reform
The most serious problem with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is not its contents but its packaging. Because it requires significant departures from business as usual in health insurance, health care delivery, and health behavior, PPACA is unlikely to succeed unless Americans feel a shared stake in its success. Unfortunately, the new law has been branded only by its opponents. Neither the Obama Administration nor its congressional allies have effectively communicated the law’s key elements to the public. Most surprisingly, the groundbreaking program of near-universal health coverage that PPACA creates does not have a name. This Article explores the process of branding major American social legislation such as PPACA and suggests a strategy for improving public understanding and building loyalty. Legal brand equity, like its commercial counterpart, implies a functional, emotional, and expressive relationship between the law and its intended beneficiaries. Accordingly, an effective marketing strategy for PPACA entails creating consistent expectations regarding the law’s goals and performance, and ensuring that those expectations are met.