The interview will be broadcast March 14 and comes as the administration makes a final push to enroll consumers in Obamacare's new insurance exchanges before the critical March 31 deadline. After that date, Americans must have insurance or pay a penalty.
“Next week, President Obama will sit down for his first-ever interview with WebMD, the leading source of health information for consumers and health care professionals, to discuss the importance of signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act,” said White House director of online engagement Kori Schulman in a blogpost.
Obama will sit down with WebMD’s health care reform expert Lisa Zamosky and answer questions from the website’s users.
“The president's interview with WebMD continues efforts by the administration to encourage as many Americans as possible to sign up for health insurance for 2014 by the end of open enrollment on March 31,” said Schulman, touting the website’s “enormous reach.”
“According to WebMD, the site's more than 156 million unique visitors per month is made up of 60 percent women, 33 percent of its audience is ages 18-34 and 38 percent of those younger users are uninsured,” she wrote.
Obama has said that 4 million people have registered for insurance through the health law's insurance exchanges. That figure shows a marked improvement from initially low enrollment figures after the botched rollout of the healthcare.gov website. But the administration is still well behind their target of hitting 7 million by the end of this month, and short of the young, healthy consumers needed to balance older, sicker enrollees.
The administration also has not disclosed figures over how many enrollees have actually paid their first month’s premiums or what percentage were previously uninsured.
Insurers were told this week that they can continue to offer insurance plans that should have been dropped because of new Obamacare regulations for another two years, the latest health law delay.
Republicans say that the administration is trying to protect Democrats from political damage in November’s midterms after Obama’s broken promise that consumers could keep current health plans despite the law.
But the White House has defended the move as giving flexibility to insurers and consumers.
House Republicans have called for the individual mandate, which would fine those without insurance after March, to also be delayed.
Obama in remarks Thursday, though, insisted that the deadline is final.