White House enlisting entertainers to help implement healthcare law

<i>This post has been corrected, as indicated below.</i>

Stepping up efforts to enroll young Americans in health insurance this fall, the Obama administration is enlisting the help of actors and entertainment industry officials to educate twentysomething consumers about the need to get covered.

Senior administration officials met Monday morning with a group of entertainers to talk about media campaigns to reach young Americans about the Affordable Care Act, according to a White House official.

Among those at the meeting were: actors Jennifer Hudson, Kal Penn and Amy Poehler; Mike Farah of the website Funny or Die; Daniel Kellison of YouTube Comedy; “Royal Pains” sitcom creator Andrew Lenchewski and songwriter Bruce Roberts.


Also in attendance were representatives for Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, the Latin Recording Academy and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which produces the Grammys.

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The president stopped into the meeting, according to the White House.

The Obama administration is working with scores of community groups, healthcare companies, foundations and others to publicize the president’s 2010 health law, which will make guaranteed health coverage available to all Americans for the first time next year and also require most consumers to have health coverage or pay a fine.

Sufficient enrollment – particularly of young, healthy consumers – is viewed as critical to keeping premiums affordable next year; the administration is aiming to get about 2.7 million currently uninsured young consumers enrolled in 2014.

But polls show many Americans still do not know about the law. And Republican critics of the Affordable Care Act have repeatedly attacked efforts to educate the public and pressured groups not to participate, including sports leagues such as the National Football League.

[For the Record, 1:40 p.m. PST July 22: An earlier version of this post said Troy Carter of the entertainment agency Atom Factory was in attendance. Actually, Carter was unable to attend the meeting.]


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