Obamacare’s Latest Weapon: Celebrity Moms?

The Obama administration wants young people to sign up for health care coverage.

Earlier in the week,  President Obama did a web video on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. As part of the interview, Obama stressed the need for young people to sign up for coverage before the March 31st deadline. To date, the video has gotten 15 million hits, and traffic to the Obamacare sign up website, healthcare.gov rose 40% on the day after it first aired.

And now, with that deadline about 2 weeks away, they are pulling out the “big guns”.

A new campaign, entitled #YourMomCares, has put out a video, using celebrity mothers to encourage young adults to sign up for healthcare coverage. Sharon Feldstein (Jonah Hill’s mom), Patsy Noah (Adam Levine‘s mom), Terria Joseph (Alicia Keys‘ mom) and Guadalupe Rodriguez (Jennifer Lopez‘s mom) share stories about their “kids” and make an impassioned plea to viewers to sign up for healthcare:

“Us moms put up with a lot, but one thing we should never have to put up with is our kid not having healthcare.” : Sharon Feldstein

“You people feel invincible and, until something actually happens, they will continue to feel invincible. Unfortunately, things do happen.”: Patsy Noah

Even First Lady Michelle Obama gets into the act saying: “We nag you because we love you.”

The Affordable Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26. Before the President signed this landmark Act into law, many health plans and issuers could and did in fact remove young adults from their parents’ policies because of their age, leaving many college graduates and others with no insurance.   This helps to explain problems like:

  • Young adults have the highest rate of uninsured of any age group. About 30% of young adults are uninsured, representing more than one in five of the uninsured. This rate is higher than any other age group, and is three times higher than the uninsured rate among children.
  • Young adults have the lowest rate of access to employer-based insurance. As young adults transition into the job market, they often have entry-level jobs, part-time jobs, or jobs in small businesses, and other employment that typically comes without employer-sponsored health insurance. The uninsured rate among employed young adults is one-third higher than older employed adults.
  • Young adults’ health and finances are at risk. Contrary to the myth that young people don’t need health insurance, one in six young adults has a chronic illness like cancer, diabetes or asthma. Nearly half of uninsured young adults report problems paying medical bills.

Source: CMS.gov ( Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

What do you think of this campaign? Do you think the moms will help get young people (and others) to sign up?

To sign up  for healthcare coverage, go to healthcare.gov

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Li

    September 23, 2014 at 9:10 am

    The New Face of American Primary Care

    The modern American primary care physician has much to worry about, aside from his or her patients. With the impending influx of newly insured Americans via recent legislation compounded by a national shortage of primary care physicians, many primary care physicians see shorter patient visits, increased responsibilities, and even burnout in their futures. The patient-physician relationship is at risk. Perhaps the most central and vulnerable aspect is the patient’s perception of the physician. How can a physician maintain the immediately identifiable aura of knowledge, experience, and dedication in shorter patient meetings that are becoming a smaller part of the physician’s everyday responsibilities? Furthermore, with the emergence of other healthcare professions such as nurse practitioners (NP) and physician’s assistants (PA), the unique role of the primary care physician has become increasingly ambiguous.
    As the medical profession gradually adopted a reputation in the 18th century for being scientific, exact, and respectable, physicians relied heavily on maintaining a carefully crafted image for the common population. With careful and sharp anatomical drawings and meticulously objective descriptions of gross pathologies, physicians developed their long-standing reputations. Aside from publishing figures and articles, physicians also maintained their images with their interactions with patients. Most modern physicians strive to appear as professional, knowledgeable, and cultured as possible. Yet, with more patients to visit each day and additional non-patient responsibilities, today’s doctors are facing the probable reality of shorter meetings with patients and decreased quality of care. Is it really likely that most physicians can still appear genuinely caring, impressively knowledgeable, and morally sound to new patients in less than fifteen minutes? While the American public is unlikely to lose its faith in its physicians, it is possible that individual patients will begin to feel more distant and alienated from their physicians.
    If the common patient is less likely to view the modern primary care physician as a compassionate, reliable, and authoritative health care provider, then patients may be more willing to consider alternative healthcare providers such as PAs or NPs. For most cases, PAs and NPs may be qualified to deal with common primary care issues, choosing to defer to physicians in more complex cases. However, since PAs and NPs are newer professions that do not usually carry the same authority or respect as physicians do, it is worth investigating the common patient’s opinions on receiving primary care from less-educated yet still qualified healthcare providers. To deal with the coming surge of insured Americans, it may be beneficial to cast PAs and NPs with the same aura of authority and respect that traditionally belonged only to physicians. In today’s digital age of social media, mass advertising, and celebrity endorsement, these newer professions stand to develop even more powerful images than those of the 18th century physicians. Perhaps it is time for these newer professions to take advantage of the media to craft their own images that would help them care for millions more Americans than today’s primary care physicians.

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