Obamacare Targets the Young Via March Madness

Obamacare Targets the Young Via March Madness
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As the Obamacare enrollment game clock ticks down, the administration is invoking March Madness in hopes of enticing young people to sign up for health coverage before the March 31 buzzer sounds.

WhiteHouse.gov has launched a Web page inspired by the college basketball tournament’s “Sweet 16” bracket, intended to inspire members of the youth demographic -- whose participation in Obamacare is essential to its success -- to sign on. In addition, anyone without coverage by the end of the month must pay a penalty.

Dubbed “The 16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered,” the page invites visitors to “vote for your favorite reason (and GIF) to get covered,” and features distinctive Buzzfeed-like video “brackets” that underscore the importance of insurance coverage, such as “Women can’t be charged more than men” vs. “Because accidents happen.”

First lady Michelle Obama has a prominent presence, making appearances in two .gifs.

This social media-minded approach also steers site visitors to the Twitter hashtag “#GetCoveredNow,” where they are asked to share their health care coverage stories.

The Web page also includes an introductory video featuring North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams and Geno Auriemma, head coach of University of Connecticut’s women’s team, a perennial power. The latter encourages young people to purchase an “affordable” policy at HealthCare.gov: “Be a winner and get covered today.”

Neither coach’s involvement is surprising. In his 2009 NCAA bracket, President Obama correctly predicted the Tar Heels’ national championship that year, and Obama famously called Auriemma during a postgame press conference in 2010 to congratulate him on the team’s record-breaking 89th straight win.

Jose R. Gonzalez is an intern for RealClearPolitics.


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