Would you trust Jon Bon Jovi to give you medical advice? Barack Obama is hoping you would.
With fewer than 70 days left until Oct. 1, when millions of uninsured Americans will be required to purchase health insurance through the various government-run marketplaces, the White House is in overdrive to get buy in. Administration officials are particularly focused on getting the key demographic of young people (aged 18 to 35) to sign up for health insurance, as the more members of this typically healthy group participate the lower the overall cost of medical coverage.
To help spread the word to the nation's youth, Obama is turning to his phalanx of supporters in Hollywood. This week, Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to the president, reportedly met at the White House with, among others, Amy Poehler, Jennifer Hudson, Aisha Tyler, Jon Bon Jovi and representatives for Oprah Winfrey. The administration is asking celebrities to promote Obamacare through television appearances, social media and public service announcements. And according to the New York Times, Obama dropped by the meeting to express an urgency for getting young people to sign up for coverage.
To be sure, many young Americans already have health insurance. As of May 2010, those up to age 26 may remain on their parents insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act's dependent-coverage provision.
But for those whose parents don't have coverage and slightly older young people who don't have a job with health insurance, having to sign up for coverage may be inevitable. After all, Americans without coverage must pay an annual tax penalty of the greater of $695 per family or 2.5 percent of household income.
For those who earn more modest paychecks, tax credits and cost sharing subsidies are available. Families with incomes between 133 to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,282 to $45,960 for a single person in the contiguous states and D.C.) can access premium subsidies when they purchase insurance through the exchanges. Cost sharing subsidies are available to those with incomes up to 250 percent of the poverty level.
Fortunately for the president and his landmark health-care law, young people do want coverage. More than seven in ten young adults -- those aged 18 to 30 -- describe health insurance as very important, according to the June Kaiser Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care researcher in Menlo Park, Calif. A similar amount of young people also describe insurance as "worth the money," while just a quarter of them feel they are healthy enough to go without insurance, reports KFF.
Still, members of Obama's celebrity-studded crew may just have their work cut out for them. Millennials don't call themselves "young invincibles" for nothing.
What's your take on Obamacare? Will you sign up? Tell us why or why not in the comments section below.