The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), charged with implementing Obamacare, is running into a classic marketing problem: The dogs won’t eat the dog food.
So HHS officials recently announced that they are “rebranding” one of Obamacare’s major components; henceforth they will replace the word exchange with marketplace.
HHS has been implementing Obamacare for over 36 months now. The law is just as unpopular as the day it passed. Employers are trying to figure out if they will need to drop their employee health plans or cut their workers’ hours. Insurers still don’t have the answers they need to design and price the new required coverage. At least half the states are unwilling to set up their own exchanges.
What does HHS conclude? That its product needs a different name. Apparently the Administration thinks the dogs will like the dog food better with a different label on the can.
It also happens to be silly and impractical, since the law itself uses exchange or exchanges 328 times.
Worse, the Administration’s latest excuse is that exchange won’t translate into Spanish.
“We’re going to use the word ‘marketplace’ because it actually makes sense to people,” said HHS official Anton Gunn, according to The Hill. “‘Exchange’ doesn’t translate to anything in Spanish, but ‘marketplace’ does.”
Maybe they thought that no one would notice that their own website to promote Obamacare —HealthCare.gov—even translates the term in its glossary (as the screenshot shows). Exchange translates to intercambio in Spanish. To make this ploy even more embarrassing, HHS uses the translation many times, including here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Notice to HHS officials: It’s probably the product, not the name, that’s the problem.