White House Uses March Madness to Push Obamacare

Image: White House Uses March Madness to Push Obamacare Patric Young of the Florida Gators, right, and Julius Randle of the Kentucky Wildcats vie for a rebound during the Championship game of the 2014 Men's SEC Basketball Tournament at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on March 16.

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 08:49 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The White House wants to score more Obamacare enrollments with a March Madness-themed push by athletes, coaches, and sports celebrities to market the healthcare plan to young Americans as the March 31 deadline looms.

On Monday, the Obama administration will release a special bracket, "16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered," which lists the top reason to obtain insurance, The Hill reported. The bracket will be updated daily based on online votes, and will be included as part of a media blitz that includes online videos and social media pitches aimed at attracting fans of the NCAA basketball tournament.

While more than 4.2 million people have enrolled in Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services reports, the number of young adults age 18 to 34 is still standing at 25 percent.

The White House has said enrollment numbers will surge in the days before the March 31 deadline, especially among young people who hope to avoid having to pay a penalty for not having insurance.

Ads to be aired during the tournament games will feature several present and former NBA stars, including LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Alonzo Mourning, who will tout the importance of obtaining insurance coverage, Time reported.

The ad spots will also appear on ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBAtv.

President Barack Obama will speak about healthcare coverage in a Monday interview on Univision and plans to release his own NCAA bracket Wednesday.

WhiteHouse.gov reports that Obama's 2013 bracket was its most popular blog entry last year, netting more than 280,000 views.

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