POLITICS: PennAve

White House looks at 'every way' to boost Obamacare as Lance Bass visits

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Politics,White House,Obamacare,Health Care,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Health Care Exchanges

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the administration would consider “every way possible” to help boost Obamacare enrollment as it nears the March 31 deadline.

“You can be assured of, as I think we demonstrated yesterday, that we're looking at every way possible to make sure that communities across the country are getting the information they need to make the choices available to them,” Carney said Wednesday. “And sometimes that means using nontraditional means to reach folks because they don't all, you know, get their news or their information from the same sources that we do.”

His comments came after pop star Lance Bass visited the White House to promote Obamacare's enrollment exchanges, the latest celebrity called in to help the administration make its pitch.

Bass tweeted a photo of himself at the White House. His initial tweet, though, misidentified the name of the Obamacare website as healthcare.org instead of healthcare.gov, according to reports. He corrected his error in a subsequent tweet.

Bass' visit came a day after President Obama appeared on an online mock talk show, "Between Two Ferns," hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis to also promote the health law.

Critics said Obama’s appearance on the show, in which he traded insults with the comedian and responded to offbeat questions, was inappropriate for the president.

But the White House defended that appearance, with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett saying the interview had been “overwhelmingly successful.”

“The traffic on our website has gone up 40 percent between yesterday and today, and that was the goal,” she said Wednesday during an interview on “CBS This Morning.”

The administration on Tuesday also touted their latest Obamacare enrollment figures, noting that 4.2 million had signed up through insurance exchanges.

As the open enrollment period for Obamacare nears its deadline, the administration is bolstering efforts to sign up consumers, especially the young, healthy people needed to keep the law solvent. Only a quarter of enrollees fit that demographic, well below the projected 40 percent level the administration initially sought.

Critics also say the overall figure is misleading and that the number of consumers who have actually paid their premiums is a more accurate mark of the law’s success. The administration has also not shared data on what percentage of enrollees previously lacked insurance.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers Wednesday that she did not know how many people had followed through on their payments or the number of previously uninsured.

Republicans say the rocky rollout of the exchanges highlight that Obama’s signature domestic achievement was never ready for prime time and question if more consumers will end up losing their coverage because of new Obamacare regulations.

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