WH: HealthCare.gov traffic surges on 'Ferns'

President Obama's interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis earned more than 11 million views and increased traffic to HealthCare.gov by almost 40 percent, according to a White House spokeswoman.

The government said that 40 percent bump meant nearly 900,000 unique visits to the healthcare portal. At least 32,000 of those visits were direct referrals from the "Between Two Ferns" video, although many users who saw the video online or in the news media likely manually navigated to or searched for the ObamaCare website.


The 11 million video views also validated White House press secretary Jay Carney's prediction on Tuesday that the interview would blast by the 6 million views that the faux public access show averages.

"The video itself was causing the action that we'd hoped it would cause, which is getting folks to go to HealthCare.gov and look at the options available to them and hopefully enroll," Carney said.

The White House is hoping the video can help boost enrollment numbers among the crucial 18- to 34-year-old demographic. Data released by the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday showed that just a quarter of enrollees through February were in that crucial age range — essentially unchanged from a month before. That's despite White House assurances that younger, healthier enrollees tend to join later in the enrollment period, which expires at the end of March.

“It seems the president’s push to enroll young adults is far too little, too late,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “Young adults — those who the White House repeatedly said are critical — are deciding the health care law is a bad deal. Now, millions stand to be forced to pay a new tax because of this law.”

During an interview Wednesday morning, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett called the video "overwhelmingly successful."

"The goal is to help reach that young audience," she told CBS's "This Morning." "And Zach and the guys at Funny or Die, they have huge followings. Every young person I know watches their videos on YouTube. And so how do we reach them in a way that was amusing and entertaining and yet informative. And the fact that the website traffic has gone up is really an indication that it’s working."