“Public Option” = “Medicare”?

MedicareCard_96834_7In the past, we’ve discussed the Obama Administration’s failure to use compelling labels to crystallize messages in the health reform detate. For example, the greatest political communicator of our times can’t seem to come up with a better brand name than “public option?”

Such as, oh let’s see now…“Medicare?”

While “public option” is a hopelessly flat term with no brand equity, “Medicare,” imperfect as it is, has strong brand equity due to a relatively strong track record.

Despite all of the rhetoric about the inferiority of government-run health care, about 56 percent of enrollees in traditional government-run Medicare give it a rating of 9 or 10 on a ten point scale, while only 40 percent of private health insurance customers do. A whopping 70 percent of traditional Medicare enrollees say they ‘always’ get access to needed care, compared to only half of privately insured Americans.

So, maybe Obama should have proposed expanding the Medicare brand into a new product line, instead of creating a new unknown government product and brand. Instead of pitching “a public option,” maybe Obama should have pitched “giving all uninsured Americans the option of buying into Medicare.”

– Loveland