WASHINGTON — The White House declared that it had come a long way in improving the front-end user experience of its online health-insurance marketplace, HealthCare.gov. But it continues to face an even more academic problem, convincing an ever more skeptical group of young Americans that the Affordable Care Act will work for them.
As the Dec. 23 deadline to enroll in health plans taking effect on Jan. 1 approaches, the Obama administration is turning to the bully pulpit to highlight the benefits of the law that have “gotten lost a little bit over the last couple of months,” in the opinion of the president.
“So we decided to take our untraditional campaign to where bullies have the most sway: the schoolyard,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.
Americans aged 18-29 are less familiar with the new law than any other age group, according to a recent Gallup poll. This poses a serious problem for the successful implementation of the healthcare overhaul, which requires about 40 percent of new enrollees to be relatively healthy individuals under the age of 35.
It has proven difficult reaching these so-called “young invincibles,” especially the preschool set. In fact, many preschoolers are convinced that they have superpowers that keep them from getting hurt or needing healthcare.
Aditi Malik, a preschool teacher at the Rainbow Academy in Miami, described a group of legislators hijacking a recent finger-painting lesson.
“Some old men in suits lectured my students about the birds and the bees,” explained Malik. Using dolls to graphically depict how the human papillomavirus (HPV) can be spread during sexual intercourse, the strike team “informed little Melissa and Marybeth that the vaccine provided under Obamacare reduces their risk of being infected with the cancer-causing virus.”
Bobby Lambert, age 3, remains unconvinced by the government propaganda. “I had many boo-boos in my life, but daddy never asked for no health insurance card before giving me a Spiderman Band-Aid,” Lambert claims.
“And my daddy says the only medicine he needs is his drink. Daddy loves his drink. He can sit at home and drink his medicine all day now that he’s on the disabilities.”