LOS ANGELES (AP) — While bass-heavy music pounds, an actor impersonating President Barack Obama dances, mugs for the camera and raps about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
“So tell a friend or a random guy, I’ve got a game-changer right here that saves lives,” the actor raps.
The online video, launched Thursday, is part of a national campaign that entwines Hollywood and social media to encourage Americans, especially young adults, to sign up for insurance coverage through the new PPACA exchange system.
As exchange plan enrollment lags around the United States, Fran Drescher and Kal Penn are among the Hollywood faces being enlisted for the “Tell a Friend Get Covered” campaign, which will urge friends, family members and neighbors around the country to talk to each other about PPACA and the exchange program.
The hope is that familiar faces can do something Obama, thus far, has not achieved — getting millions of healthy, younger adults to enroll for coverage.
“Meaningful discussions between friends is what makes the most difference in people acting,” said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state-run exchange that is spearheading the campaign.
“When friends tell friends, people know that the voice matters,” Lee added.
The latest marketing strategy comes after a troubled two months for the national overhaul — sign-ups have missed targets and the disastrous launch of the federal government’s website was blamed for discouraging enrollments.
Will it work?
“We trust our friends and neighbors more than any politician,” said Republican consultant Matt David, who was an adviser to former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman’s campaign. But “the challenge for President Obama has been and will continue to be his ability to activate his supporters outside of an election. He’s proven he can turn out voters, but turning out support for public policy is a totally different animal and a much heavier lift.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported Wednesday that 364,682 people had signed up for private coverage under the law as of Nov. 30. That is more than three times the October figure but still less than one-third of the 1.2 million that officials had projected would enroll nationwide by the end of November.