Even while traveling overseas, Obamas are plugging health enrollment

With just a week to go before the sign-up deadline, the Washington Post looks at the White House's systematic effort to get more people signed up for insurance. But consumers still confront some obstacles, such as concerns about immigration status, tax issues and the multitude of policies with confusing names.

The Washington Post: Even While Overseas, The Obamas Urge Americans To Get Covered
While Barack and Michelle Obama will be overseas this week, the White House is ensuring they will have a virtual presence in targeted media markets across the country before the Affordable Care Act's initial enrollment period ends March 31. ... The Obama administration has devoted most of its outreach efforts for the past several months on a handful of constituencies: young people, women and Hispanics, often in the two dozen U.S. cities that have a disproportionately high numbered of uninsured residents. In many ways, the approach mirrors what Obama's staff did during his two presidential campaigns, where they used local and niche media outlets to reach targeted voting blocs (Eilperin, 3/23). 

USA Today: Obama Hails 4th Anniversary Of Health Law
President Obama hailed the fourth anniversary of his signature health care law on Sunday, and reminded supporters that a key deadline looms. "Since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down, to its slowest rate in fifty years," Obama said in a written statement. Obama signed a health care bill into law on March 23, 2010. Now, the administration faces a March 31 sign-up deadline for coverage this year (Jackson, 3/23).

ABC News: Biden: Sign Up For Obamacare So Law Can 'Last Forever'
To a chorus of cheers, whistles and a standing ovation, Vice President Biden addressed a group of community health care workers -- calling them "the moral backbone of the country" and professionals who on the frontline of signing people up for Obamacare. "For the first time in American history the idea that health care is a right and not a privilege is legislated," said Biden. He urged the audience gathered  at the annual conference of the National Association of Community Health Centers, which serve primarily poor and rural communities, to push as hard as they can to sign up as many as people as possible before the March 31st deadline (Hughes, 3/21).

CBS News: Biden Envisions The Public's Take On Obamacare In 20 Years
On the eve of its fourth anniversary, the Affordable Care Act remains controversial, but Vice President Joe Biden on Friday predicted that the public will feel very differently about it in 20 years from now -- if all goes as planned. "Twenty years from now everyone's going to wonder, 'What's the big deal? Doesn't every country do this?'" Biden said at a meeting of the National Association of Community Health Centers in Washington, D.C. Before it gets to that point, though, Biden said the law needs to survive the current political pushback against the law (Condon, 3/21).

Christian Science Monitor: Obamacare Turns 4: Who's Cheering, Who's Heckling?
Perhaps the most telling statistic about the Affordable Care Act as the controversial law turns four years old on Sunday is this: 70 percent of Americans still don't know they could get their healthcare subsidized under the law. But for those who do understand what the law is, what it does, and how it's changing life in America, Obamacare's 4th anniversary is a major turning point for the biggest federal entitlement expansion since the 1960s (Jonsson, 3/22).

The Associated Press: Millions On The Sidelines For Big Health Care Push
Millions of people in the United States will remain uninsured despite this week's final, frenzied push to sign them up under the health law. Their reasons are all over the map. Across the country, many of the uninsured just don't know much about the health overhaul and its March 31 deadline for enrolling in plans that can yield big discounts, researchers say. ... But the complexities of the Affordable Care Act can stymie even the well-informed (Cass, 3/23).

USA Today: Voices: Afraid To Apply For Health Care For Their Kids
For Esperanza Cuevas, the phone call has become disturbingly common. Undocumented immigrants balk at registering their U.S.-born children under the Affordable Care Act, because they fear furnishing the information will lead to their deportation (Gomez, 3/23).

The Wall Street Journal: Worries Over Fines Aid Health-Insurance Sign-Ups
In launching the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration has emphasized the appeal of inexpensive insurance policies and financial subsidies to lure people to new online marketplaces. But what seems to be motivating many as the final deadline for signing up looms is more the fear of financial penalties (Radnofsky, 3/23).

The New York Times: Names Of Health Plans Sow Customer Confusion
As Americans race to sign up for health insurance in the final days of open enrollment, many consumers and consumer advocates say the names of plans are unhelpful, confusing and in some cases misleading. A number of insurers sell their plans under names like Select, Preferred, Premier, Exclusive, Enhanced, Essential, Essential Plus, Prime, Ultimate and Deluxe. Multiple offerings from one company may have the same benefits and cover the same share of a consumer's costs, but go by different names (Pear, 3/22).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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