Obama Meets With Celebs About Promoting Obamacare

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A group of well-known actors, musicians and brands met with President Obama and his senior aides Monday about promoting Obamacare, providing the White House a potential boost as it seeks to encourage young Americans to enroll in the insurance exchanges.

The attendees, according to a White House official, included actors Jennifer Hudson, Kal Penn and Amy Poehler; representatives for artists and personalities Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, and Bon Jovi; entertainment brands such as the Grammys and Latin Recording Academy; and content creators Funny or Die and YouTube Comedy.

At the meeting, the official said, Obama stopped by to personally underscore the ability of these celebrities and brands to use their star power to encourage young Americans aged 18-35 — whose participation is critical to making the law work — to enroll in the marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act to expand coverage to the uninsured.

The White House’s aim is to ward off a nightmare scenario in which mostly sick people enroll and insurers have to raise premiums to cover their costs. Enrollment in the exchanges begins Oct. 1 and coverage takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

“The next few months leading up to the opening of these marketplaces are a critical time for youth engagement and outreach efforts,” said the White House official. “The President stopped by the meeting to engage artists who expressed an interest in helping to educate the public about the benefits of the health law. The reach of these national stars spreads beyond the beltway to fans of their television shows, movies, and music — and the power of these artists to speak through social media is especially critical.”

The meeting was hosted by Obama’s senior adviser and confidant Valerie Jarrett. Attendees included White House communications and outreach aides Paulette Aniskoff, David Simas, and Tara McGuinness, according to the official.