Obama lunches with 'young invincibles'

Getty Images

President Obama grabbed lunch at a Washington, D.C., diner on Friday with five young adults who are helping to enroll their peers in the ObamaCare exchanges. [WATCH VIDEO]

The lunch is part of what the White House described as an “aggressive outreach effort” to target young Americans in the final three months of the initial ObamaCare enrollment period. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that obtaining a “good mix” of younger, healthier enrollees in the program was a “key element” to the overall success of the law.

And now, according to a White House official, the administration plans to ramp up a campaign with nonprofit groups, universities, celebrities and athletes encouraging young Americans to purchase insurance. Those efforts will include door-to-door canvassing, tabling at concerts and a National Youth Enrollment Day scheduled for mid-February.

The White House said that Obama wanted to “hear directly from young people” involved in the effort during his lunch at The Coupe, a restaurant in Washington's rapidly gentrifying Columbia Heights neighborhood.

Attendees at the lunch included the executive director of the youth division of the Center for American Progress — the liberal think tank founded by Obama's new counselor, John Podesta — and a representative from Young Invincibles, an organization that markets the healthcare exchanges to young consumers.

The president was also joined by David Dimock, a Maryland small-business owner who provides television programming to Community Heath Centers; Tommy McFly, a Washington-area radio host; and Andres Cruz, who works assisting D.C. residents to enroll in the exchanges.

Healthcare experts have warned of a “death spiral” if not enough young, healthy adults buy into the ObamaCare marketplace to offset the cost of insuring older and sick Americans. A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 4 of 10 enrollees would need to be between 18 and 34 years old to prevent a rise in premiums in subsequent years, although supporters of the law note that baked-in offsets make a true “death spiral” unlikely.

The administration has not provided any overall demographic data about national ObamaCare enrollments.

Carney said on Monday that “at this point” the administration did not have information about the makeup of early enrollees, but pledged to make the data “available as soon as possible.”

“If you look at how we've dealt with data as it's become available over the past several months, both good data and bad data, we've done our best to provide it to you when we are confident about the accuracy of it,” Carney said.