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November 19 2014

They’re Back!!!!

Patrice J. Lee

When you want to sell your ideas to the public – especially young people- where do you turn? Celebrities, of course. They vie for whose pictures can break the Internet. They boast that millions of people hang on their every 140-character thoughts. It's no surprise that just as they put their names on vodka and sheets, they would also try to convince us to buy healthcare.

Last year, we saw the Administration tap actor Kal Penn, comedienne Amy Pohler, songbird Jennifer Hudson, actor Donald Faison, actress Eva Longoria, and many more celebrities from television, Hollywood, the music industry, and the social media. They tweeted; appeared in ads, videos, and television shows; and showed up at events. Even athletes and coaches like former NBA stars Magic Johson and Alonzo Mourning were called in for duty.

The White House thinks this strategy worked and is once again enlisting A to Z-list celebrities to help promote open enrollment. Dozens of stars, athletes, and musicians are promoting ObamaCare on Twitter and Facebook and participating in coordinated days of “action.” The goal is for the stars to flood social media with messages encouraging their fans to enroll.

The funny thing is, while these stars and athletes are prodding us to enroll, they likely wouldn’t ever pick ObamaCare coverage for themselves.

The Hill reports:

On Monday – the first of several “celebrity days of action” -- the White House, Department of Health Human Services and Organizing for Action reposted tweets from actors including Julianne Moore, Kerry Washington, and Jared Leto, Olympic gold medalist Shaun White and musician Pharell Williams.

The White House said celebrity engagement was crucial to driving traffic to HealthCare.gov during the first open enrollment period. More than 100 celebrities, including LeBron James, Zach Galifianakis, Magic Johnson, Katy Perry and Ellen DeGeneres, taped viral web clips and or blanketed radio stations across the country.

The push comes as a new Gallup poll released Monday showed approval of ObamaCare at an all-time low. Just 37 percent of respondents said they approved of the law, while 56 percent disapproved.

By the end of 2014, the Administration wants to have 9.1 million Americans enrolled in ObamaCare (which, by the way, is lower than the 13 million originally projected). This means that they need the 7.1 million who enrolled over the past year to re-enroll and then they need to recruit another two million people. It’s been a slow start so far, which is probably why the Administration is playing the celebrity card so early.

As Townhall explains though, these celebrities are unlikely to utilize ObamaCare themselves because the plans are too expensive compared to the private options they have access to:

While it's nice that millionaire Hollywood actors are jazzed up about Obamacare, it's interesting to note that insurance options available to these people are far more generous and affordable than plans available through Covered California, the healthcare exchange website for the state of California...

In comparison, the plans offered to actors through the Screen Actors Guild are much more attractive than the plans on the exchange. The most expensive plan for an individual offered to Screen Actors Guild members has a $414 quarterly premium. The deductibles for these plans? For in-network care for the Industry Health Network, there is no deductible. For out-of-network healthcare, there's a measly $500 deductible. The out-of-pocket maximum for an individual is $6,600—barely higher than the deductible for a bronze Covered California plan. Additionally, the plan covers 90 percent of most other health treatments, including mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The SAG insurance website even effectively discourages members from signing up for an Affordable Care Act plan, as members who qualify for insurance plans will not qualify for a premium subsidy.

Don’t be surprised to see tweets from your favorite celebrity telling you to #getcovered, but don’t fall for the hype. They’re free to express their opinions about public policy just as they are to promote their next project. However, actions speak louder than words. If they truly believe in ObamaCare, let them use it for themselves and share honestly their experiences of the costs and quality of coverage. Then we can decide if it’s worth giving their recommendation any consideration.

A celebrity peddling ObamaCare is no different from a celebrity endorsing any product; we’d like to think that they stand behind the product, but in reality we know they probably have no clue just what their name is really on.



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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