Health care

Arkansas spends $4M on ObamaCare ads, wants more

Like a child that blows his entire allowance on candy and bubblegum, then gets angry when his parents won’t let him have more money, the Arkansas Department of Insurance says the state Legislature is blocking their promotional efforts for Obamacare after the department already burned through $4 million in taxpayer cash to advertise the health insurance exchanges.

In May, the department signed a contract with a Little Rock-based public relations firm to promote the Arkansas Health Connector, a website designed to inform Arkansans of their health insurance options under Obamacare and ultimately to funnel them towards the health insurance exchange.  Arkansas is one of seven states operating a joint federal-state health insurance exchange after declining to run their own.

But just as the exchange went online, the connector went dark.

When the Arkansas Legislative Council reviewed the contract in June, they voted against releasing the second round of cash.  Without it, the department was unable to renew their contract with Mangan-Holcomb Partners, the PR firm running the various promotional efforts related to the Arkansas Health Connector.

The contract expired on Sept. 30 and was supposed to be replaced with a new one beginning Oct. 1, to coincide with the launch of the federal exchanges.

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