CHICAGO (AP) — Most Illinoisans without health insurance coverage know very little about the federal health care overhaul and how it might help them. It's Brian Gorman's challenge to make sure they learn.
Gorman, 38, a former campaign organizer for President Barack Obama, has been hired by Gov. Pat Quinn to increase the number of Illinois residents with insurance by telling them about features of Obama's sweeping overhaul.
Within months, Gorman plans to roll out a campaign featuring TV ads, radio spots, tweets and billboards — possibly featuring sports teams — to promote a so-called "culture of coverage" and urge people without insurance to sign up.
Gorman, as director of outreach and education for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, will be paid $71,500 this year to spread the word. He'll oversee professional marketers and grassroots groups and spend up to $115 million in federal money — awarded Monday — with the goal of covering more than 1 million uninsured residents.
Below are edited excerpts of what Gorman told The Associated Press about the plan:
Q. Do Illinois residents know about the insurance marketplace, the online site where they'll be able to shop for coverage starting Oct. 1?
A. When we conduct Illinois-specific research, we suspect the data will reflect what we're seeing nationwide. We're anticipating 4 out of 5 of our likely customers, the people we need to engage, don't know we're doing the work we're doing.
Q. That's pretty daunting, correct?
A. It's a challenge. But we're also really excited about the opportunity we have over the next five months to get the word out, to let people know what the marketplace is and how it will make their lives better by providing access to quality, affordable health care, which has been elusive to so many people in Illinois.