President Barack Obama is expanding his political outreach as he tries to sell the Affordable Care Act to young people and others who have not yet signed up for health insurance under his signature program.
Obama is scheduled to appear today on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in a live video feed from the White House. A spokesman for the popular daytime show told reporters, “President Obama will talk to Ellen about Obamacare in an effort to encourage people without health insurance to sign up for coverage.” It will be his first appearance on DeGeneres' show since taking office.
Obama is also scheduled to make his health-insurance pitch today on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd," a nationally syndicated sports radio show, a White House spokesman said.
And Obama granted interviews Wednesday afternoon to the anchors of several local television stations in another bid to encourage enrollments. A White House spokesman said the stations included outlets in Dallas, Minneapolis, New England, Phoenix, San Diego and St. Louis.
Obama tried to reach young men Wednesday by predicting the finalists in the college basketball finals and at the same time making a pitch for health-care signups. Further, Miami Heat star LeBron James is to appear in 30-second ads promoting the health care law that will air during the college basketball games.
In one of his most unusual forays into youth culture, Obama appeared last week on “Between Two Ferns,” a parody interview show hosted by Zach Galifianakis as part of a "Funny or Die" digital video series. Obama used the occasion for the serious purpose of calling on Americans to sign up for Obamacare.
Some critics say Obama is spreading himself too thin and demeaning the presidency with his outreach. But Obama advisers say he is “going where the people are” to make his case as effectively and extensively as possible.
The enrollment deadline is March 31, and Obama needs to get as many healthy people as possible to sign up – young people are a particular target group – in order to pay for the insurance of sick people and keep premiums lower for everyone.
Obama is also campaigning for sign-ups in more traditional ways. He is scheduled to participate in a forum with Valencia College students and local workers in Orlando, Fla., today and give a speech at the college on health care and economic issues.