Brand New Law! The Need to Market Health Care Reform

20 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2011

See all articles by William M. Sage

William M. Sage

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: February 9, 2011


The most serious problem with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not its contents but its packaging. Because it requires significant departures from business as usual in health insurance, health care delivery, and health behavior, the ACA is unlikely to succeed unless Americans feel a shared stake in its success. Unfortunately, the new law has been branded only by its opponents. Neither the Obama administration nor its congressional allies have effectively communicated the law’s key elements to the public. Most surprisingly, the groundbreaking program of near-universal health coverage the ACA creates does not even have a name. This essay explores the process of branding major American social legislation such as the ACA, and suggests a strategy for improving public understanding and building loyalty. Legal brand equity, like its commercial counterpart, implies a functional, emotional, and expressive relationship between the law and its intended beneficiaries. Accordingly, an effective marketing strategy for the ACA means creating consistent expectations regarding the law’s goals and performance, and ensuring that those expectations are met.

Suggested Citation

Sage, William Matthew, Brand New Law! The Need to Market Health Care Reform (February 9, 2011). University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 159, 2011, U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 190, U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. 198, Available at SSRN:

William Matthew Sage (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States

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