The Obama Administration is engaged in a public relations effort to encourage “young invincibles” to sign up for health insurance by the end of this month. Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama, spoke with Radio Iowa this morning.
“How they earn the name ‘young invincibles’ is that they think nothing can ever happen to them,” Jarrett says. “But we all know — those of us who are a little older than the ‘invincibles’ that life can throw you a curve ball. You can get in an accident. You can get sick. Anything can happen.”
The latest figures indicate eight percent of the Iowans who’ve used the healthcare.gov website to get insurance are between the ages of 18 and 25. Expand the age grouping to Iowans between the ages of 18 and 34 and they still account for just 24 percent of sign-ups.
“You could sprain an ankle. My goodness, that takes you to the emergency room without insurance and you’re going to be out-of-pocket a great deal of money,” Jarrett said, “and so we want to make sure that everybody gets engaged in this.”
A March 31 deadline looms for uninsured Americans. Those who don’t get health care, will be fined. The healthcare.gov website was unable to handle traffic when it debuted in October, but Jarrett expressed confidence the site would be able to handle procrastinators who wait ’til the very last minute.
“We have been, obviously, since our initial roll-out spending a lot of time and energy building capacity on the website so we’re confident about it,” Jarrett said.
The GOP’s national chairman said this week the 2014 elections will be a “tsunami” for Republicans because the Affordable Care Act is “total poison” for Democratic candidates. Democrats, meanwhile, worry this past week’s special election in a Florida congressional district could be harbinger of things to come. “ObamaCare” was the key issue in that race and the Democratic candidate lost.
Jarrett’s message to Democrats: “There’s nothing like hosting a town hall and invite people who now have health insurance coverage and let them tell their stories to each other, to the press. As we start to hear more and more of the stories about how peoples’ lives have literally been saved…those stories are the stories that are going to propel more people to sign up and why this is going to be such a very important safety net for Americans all across our country.”
Americans who have not obtained health insurance by March 31 face a fine of $95 or one percent of their annual income.