Obama Recruits Hollywood Star Power to Sell Health Care Exchanges This Fall

Ira Teinowitz of The Wrap reports that the Obama White House “drew some major Hollywood star power to help drum up for support of his Obamacare health care exchanges on Monday – including Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler and former White House special advisor Kal Penn.”

Representatives of other celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Jon Bon Jovi, and Alicia Keys also attended the meeting, as well as video producers from Will Ferrell's Funny or Die website and You Tube:

 
Funny or Die production president Mike Farah said he’d start looking at scripts for videos to feature on his site. Farah said he would enlist both FOD vets and newcomers to produce videos by September to support the Affordable Health Act program, whose health-care exchanges open Oct. 1.

“We were invited and were told they don’t have a ton of dollars and want to reach young people,” he said, adding one of the key needs of the health care exchanges is to get youths to sign up for insurance.

Farah said Obama told the group how proud he was of Obamacare -- and that much like the initial rollout of Social Security years ago, there's a lot of misinformation out there. "He wants this thing to work and he said the people they are trying to reach are fans of celebrities and trust them," Farah said.

As Sarah Kliff explained at The Washington Post's Wonkblog, Team Obama needs healthy young people who rarely visit doctors to sign up for Obamacare: 

Young people are crucial to the Affordable Care Act’s success, and the White House estimates it needs 2.7 million of them to sign up for health coverage in 2014. With typically low health costs, it’s this demographic that Obama administration is relying on to keep premiums low on the new marketplaces.

Kliff believes these comedy channels could be influential brokers for Obamacare:

Funny or Die is already at work, according to the White House official, "on production for several web videos featuring well-known comedic celebrities and actors." Funny or Die's Mike Farah and YouTube's Daniel Kellison both attended Monday's meeting and could each be potent forces. Funny or Die currently boasts 19 million unique visitors each month and advocated for the health law during the Congressional debate. YouTube's Comedy Channel, meanwhile, has 600,000 subscribers.

Earlier: Will Networks Boost ObamaCare in Their Sitcom Plots?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis