Door-to-Door Campaign Underway to Increase Obamacare Enrollment

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 08:07 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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March Madness is sweeping the nation but this version has nothing to do with basketball, The Washington Post reports.

The White House, with an assist from the nonprofit Enroll America, along with 2,000 partner organizations, is engaging in a full-court press as the March 31 deadline approaches for open enrollment under Obamacare.

Computer generated maps microtargeting working-class neighborhoods across America that are likely to have high numbers of uninsured are being canvassed by thousands of volunteers and paid workers.

The drive is underway in eight states, according to The New York Times: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. An average of 18,000 doors a day are being knocked on in an effort to enroll as many Americans as possible.

"The canvassers' lists are derived from data created at Enroll America's offices in Washington by some of the same computer programmers who churned out the statistical models for Mr. Obama's presidential campaigns," The Times reports. "Using commercially available information, the data experts generate lists of people with rankings that indicate their likelihood of needing health insurance. The typical uninsured is younger, male and either low-income or unemployed."

The effort is modeled on President Obama's "successful turnout machines" in the 2008 and 2012 elections but the task of finding and enrolling the uninsured is "a painfully slow grind," The Times said.

Enrollment numbers are not what the administration expected. The botched rollout of Healthcare.gov got things off to a shaky start. Even with many of the technical issues addressed, the numbers are still short of what the White House anticipated, according to The Post. Enrollment is 1 million people below projections through the end of January.

An exact figure isn't known, but 3.3 million people have signed up for private insurance plans through Obamacare exchanges. Another 6 million have obtained Medicaid in that time period, but that number includes people who would have signed up for Medicaid regardless of the health care law, the Post reported.

Further, 20 percent of those who have signed up did not pay their premiums on time and therefore didn't receive coverage in January, according to The Times.

Reaction to the door-to-door canvassing has been mixed. While there have been some successes, there has also been resistance and skepticism, according to the Times.

"We're going to repeal that," a Broward County, Fla., man barked before closing the door in a canvasser's face.

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