Report: White House looks to local officials to promote ObamaCare

The White House is turning to local officials to help educate the public on the benefits of healthcare reform as the law takes effect, the New York Times is reporting.

Faced with opposition from Republican governors in states like Texas and Florida, the White House is hoping that going around those officials will help educate the public on the benefits of a law that remains murky for many Americans.

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According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey issued earlier this month, 79 percent of the public and 89 percent of uninsured Americans knew little or nothing about a key component of the law, the health insurance exchanges that aim to expand coverage in the states.

The White House is turning to local judges, mayors, librarians, state legislators and public health officials, among others, to spread the word.

One Texas state representative, Democrat Garnet Coleman, told The Times that he's planning to "hold events at zoos, museums and other sites where people can fill out applications and enroll on the spot.”

The White House is focusing particularly on Hispanics, according to the Times, who are more likely to be uninsured, and make up 40 percent of the 25 million Americans expected to receive insurance over the next three years.

Obama has faced criticism from both parties that he hasn't worked to educate the public enough on the law, with many provisions due to take effect next year.

Democrats have expressed concern that a rocky rollout — Obama has admitted some "glitches" are expected as the healthcare exchanges get up and running — could create backlash at the polls and jeopardize their electoral prospects in 2014.

On Saturday, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), in the weekly Republican address, warned of a coming "train wreck" in ObamaCare implementation.

Obama has sought to calm those concerns with a public relations effort, traveling to California to tout the effects of the law there.

The White House has also reached out to celebrities, and the Department of Health and Human Services has contacted the NFL and the NBA, looking for help in promoting the law.

According to the New York Times, Organizing for Action, Obama's advocacy arm, and Enroll America, a nonprofit group led by Obama campaign and White House veterans to promote the law, will organize grassroots efforts nationwide to help explain and enroll people in the program.


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