Obamacare success story: PR firms cash in promoting disastrous rollout

October 30, 2013

The federal Obamacare website has earned plenty of attention in recent weeks, but probably not the kind administration officials envisioned when they hired public relations firms to help promote HealthCare.gov.

The overall Obamacare public relations push began years ago, ranging from contracts for tens of millions of dollars to major firms to a subcontract for about $1 million to a media-buying firm with little or no track record of federal contracting whose founder has deep Democratic ties.

Federal records show D.C.-based Buying Time LLC won a $1.1 million award through the Recovery Act to conduct a “paid online campaign designed to drive consumers who need help with insurance issues to the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) Map page on HealthCare.gov.”

Neither the company’s founder nor administration officials would discuss why the firm was hired.

The company’s founder, Cathie Herrick, a veteran media buyer who, along with her firm, has worked with the Democratic National Committee and Democratic presidential campaigns, confirmed her company received a subcontract but referred questions about its work to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

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