President Obama is spending a lot of time this week focused on reaching out to different demographics in an attempt to get back to the business of advancing his plans. Today, he returned to the scene of his first big speech as a new Senator, Galesburg, IL’s Knox College, to talk about his economic program (preschool, new energy sources, and spending on infrastructure, for instance), the needs of the middle class, and raising the minimum wage. It was an hour-long speech that brought back the familiar Obama voice — earnest, determined, passionate.
On the healthcare front, the President is speaking with a different voice. Actually, it’s not his voice at all that you’ll hear. To reach younger Americans with information about the Affordable Care Act, he’s turning singer Jennifer Hudson, Amy Poehler, Kal Penn and other celebs to give voice to the benefits of the new law and the insurance exchanges that will open up on October 1.
A group of celebrities, celebrity reps, and entertainment organizations like the Latin Grammys went to the White House on Monday and met directly with the President (his senior adviser Valerie Jarrett led the meeting) about the Affordable Care Act. “The reach of these national stars spreads beyond the beltway to fans of their television shows, movies, and music – and the power of these artists to speak through social media is especially critical,” a White House official said in a statement that was picked up by CNN and McClatchy.
Without enough people to enroll in the insurance exchange, the cost of the program will go up. The White House says 2.7 million young people must enroll to keep the cost low enough for older participants.
The President has always had a good relationship with the entertainment industry, with TV personalities and movie stars giving generously and campaigning vigorously for him. With this, the Administration is very strategically taking that relationship a step further, bringing the power of celebrity to public policy in a way that will benefit his plan and the younger Americans who will gain health insurance and information from some of their favorite celebs.