Observations on Twitter and the ACA: Taking the Pulse of Obamacare

Catherine Teare, Associate Director, People-Centered Care


Twitter has launched a revolution in communications. With a half-billion tweets sent every day, it has become an important platform for sharing news, ideas, and opinions.

Researchers now use Twitter to take the pulse of large groups of people on a variety of topics. As with any public opinion research, this approach has limitations, but it also allows for immediate access to a tremendous quantity of publicly available data.

Recognizing Twitter’s importance in the national dialogue, CHCF used the social media phenomenon to track public perception of the launch of the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces during the first open enrollment period that ran from October 2013 through March 2014. CHCF mined hundreds of millions of tweets, links, images, videos, and pins, using tools from Topsy, a San Francisco company (since purchased by Apple) that indexed, analyzed, and ranked social media content and trends.

The complete coverage, in five installments, is available as a Document Download.