Obama to speak directly to Hispanics in O-Care enrollment push

President Obama will reach out directly to Hispanics on the merits of the Affordable Care Act as part of the administration’s final enrollment push before the March 31 deadline.

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The town-hall event on Thursday in Washington, D.C., will be coordinated in conjunction with some of the largest Spanish-speaking media outlets in the country — Univision, Telemundo, and La Opinion-impreMedia — and will be distributed across “broadcast, radio, digital and social platforms,” according to a White House official.

The official said the “historic” meeting will “provide an opportunity for a large Latino audience to better understand and guide their decisions to enroll in health coverage.”

The event is co-sponsored by Covered California. The state’s ObamaCare exchange has enrolled the most people in the country but has struggled to reach Hispanics.

The Obama administration has said there are 10.2 million uninsured Hispanics eligible for ObamaCare in the country, and about 8.1 million are likely eligible for tax credits.

Over the weekend, as part of the administration’s Latino Enrollment Week of Action, the federal government partnered with local leaders and activist groups for summits in Dallas; Atlanta; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Chicago and Philadelphia.

The administration has also been utilizing social media — on Monday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Department officials will participate in a Google Hangout with the Houston Chronicle’s La Voz to discuss the merits of ObamaCare for Hispanics in Texas.

The administration has been criticized for the long delay in releasing the Spanish-language ObamaCare website, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, and some have said the final product was sloppy.

The Hispanic outreach is part of a broader, but more micro-targeted effort, to reach geographic and ethnic populations with high percentages of uninsured before the enrollment deadline later this month.

President Obama, the first lady, Cabinet secretaries, and senior administration officials have been blanketing the radio airwaves for interviews about ObamaCare in “key markets from Dallas, Texas, to Miami, Fla.,” the official said.

In addition, the administration is getting help from the insurance industry and activist groups, which are planning thousands of advertisements and events in the next few weeks.

The administration had hoped to enroll 7 million people in private plans during the reform's first year, but that became all but impossible after the botched launch of HealthCare.gov.

HHS said 4 million people had signed up as of last week, and officials are counting on a final pre-deadline rush to boost those numbers.