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Hashtag Campaign: One Place the Obamacare Rollout Exceeds Expectations

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President Obama’s health care reform plan and the faulty website built to deliver a major portion of it may be taking a beating on social media and elsewhere in the public eye, but a White House Twitter campaign to counteract that bad news is getting high marks.

The #GetCovered hashtag, introduced by the grasss roots campaign Get Covered America and adopted by the White House to champion the launch of its online health insurance marketplace, is being used positively by many more tweeters than are using it negatively, according to a sentiment score prepared for Nextgov by the social analytics company Topsy.

That’s despite the glitch-ridden launch of HealthCare.gov, the federal insurance marketplace website that has prevented the vast majority of online insurance seekers from enrolling in plans and forced the government to bring in a crash team of government and outside experts to repair it.

The #GetCovered hashtag is faring significantly better than similar White House Twitter campaigns, Topsy found, including the #My2k campaign urging Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class but not for the wealthiest Americans. That hashtag referred to a tax hike of roughly $2,200 the average middle class family would face if the tax cuts were not extended.

The #GetCovered hash tag urges uninsured people to share their stories of buying newly affordable coverage through the federal marketplace or through state marketplaces, though some tweeters have mocked the hashtag with phrases like “#GetCovered with egg on your face,” referring to the rocky rollout.

Topsy ran a keyword analysis of tweets using the #GetCovered hashtag to determine whether the tweets were positive or negative. A score of 50 out of 100 essentially means there are an equal number of positive and negative tweets, according to a spokeswoman.

The sentiment score for #GetCovered has hovered around 80 out of 100 since HealthCare.gov launched Oct. 1 and was at about 90 out of 100 on Tuesday. (See the graph below).

The sentiment scores for #My2K and #40dollars, a follow on campaign to extend the payroll tax cut, both veered up and down wildly during their first months but averaged at or below sentiment scores of 50 out of 100, according to Topsy’s analysis. 

This story has been corrected to note that Get Covered USA launched the #GetCovered hash tag, which was later adopted by the White Housee. It has also been uppdated to clarify Topsy's business model. The company offers social analytics for multiple platforms, not just Twitter.

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