President Barack Obama took his lunch hour Friday to chow down with a group of five young health care advocates, listening to their ideas on how to persuade more young people to sign up for health insurance through the new federal and state exchanges.
As Obama sat down with the group of five, each representing an organization or business that wants to help get young people on the Obamacare program, the White House explained the president's lunch date in statement, saying, that Obama "wanted to hear directly from young people about their experiences spreading the word about the importance of signing up for quality, affordable health insurance and thank them for their efforts," United Press International reported.
With its once-bug-ridden federal exchange web site now, Healthcare.gov, largely repaired and operating smoothly, the administration is now pouring its energy into convincing uninsured young people of the need to sign up for coverage.
While Healthcare.gov has yet to report how many consumers in the 18 to 34 year age group have enrolled, California's exchange reports that only slightly more than one in five of its enrollees fall into that age range, according to The New Republic. Other states have also been in that ballpark.
Because young people tend, on average, to require less medical care than their older counterparts, insurance companies rely on them to sign up for coverage because their premiums balance the cost of older people who cost the companies much more money.
The lag in young enrollees has led Barack Obama's administration to make 18 to 34-year-olds a special target. February 15 this year has been designated as February 15 as National Youth Enrollment Day. Advocacy groups, such as those represented by today's young lunch guests, will use door-to-door canvasing as well as numerous other tactics to get the word out to potential young enrollees.
The lunch guests who regaled Barack Obama today with tales of their own efforts to bring young enrollees into Obamacare were Executive Director of Generation Progress Anne Johnson; entrepreneur David Dimock, whose started a business places TVs and programming in Community Health Centers; Jasmine Hicks, of Young Invincibles, an advocacy group for the 18 to 34 set; Tommy McFly, a local D.C. radio personality; and Andres Cruz, a D.C. Health Link In-Person Assister who helps residents in the nation's capital sign up for health insurance.