News

Celebrities urge Americans to #getcovered

Celebrities urge Americans to #getcovered

OBAMACARE: Associates at Community Health Center wear buttons reading "Get Obamacare" during a session to enroll people in the nation’s new health insurance system at the Community Health Center, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in New Britain, Conn. Photo: Associated Press/AP Photo/Jessica Hill

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) – While technical problems slowed the launch of new “Obamacare” websites to sell health insurance on Tuesday, the law’s supporters on Twitter had an easier time welcoming the “Affordable Care Cat.”

Celebrities and community groups took to social media to promote President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law popularly known as Obamacare, that aims to provide health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans beginning next year.

Planned Parenthood Teens, part of the network of women’s health clinics in southern New England, used Twitter and Tumblr to tell young adults, “The Affordable Care Cat wants you to … Enroll Meow”.

Singer John Legend and actresses Alyssa Milano and Kerry Washington were among entertainers reaching out to young adults to spark their interest in the new subsidized health plans. The administration aims to sign up at least 2.7 million young, healthy Americans in Obamacare’s insurance plans in their first year to offset the costs of sicker beneficiaries.

“If you want to make sense of the whole healthcare thing, or just want to #GetCovered, check out http://www.healthcare.gov #KnowYourOptions,” the rock band Pearl Jam tweeted to its more than 2 million followers on Tuesday.

Heavy web traffic and technical glitches stalled many of the new insurance exchange sites at their launch on Tuesday, suggesting a slow start to the six-month enrollment period., The administration went ahead with the launch despite a federal government shutdown precipitated by Republican efforts to delay the healthcare law’s implementation.

“F the shutdown. The Health Insurance Marketplace is now open in every state. Don’t wait another day to #GetCovered!” singer Legend tweeted Tuesday morning to his 4.8 million followers.

Obamacare opponents, led by Republican lawmakers, sent messages about the #trainwreck of a law they say was not ready to take effect.

Along with the #GetCovered hashtag, the shutdown was also a popular Twitter topic on Tuesday, with the phrases #governmentshutdown and #DearCongress trending on the micro-blogging site.

Comedy website Funny or Die also released a video of bicycle crashes and other mishaps to its nearly 7 million followers, with the message that everybody gets hurt sometimes, so get coverage. The Funny or Die production president, Mike Farah, had joined a White House meeting in July to discuss how to use pop culture to persuade young Americans to sign up.

Comedian John Hodgman and actress Martha Plimpton converted their Twitter streams into Obamacare forums on Tuesday. Plimpton retweeted messages from her followers saying what they like about the law, while Hodgman’s stream included young adults tweeting about health problems they had encountered.

“Young people: sign up for healthcare. Take it from me–YOU ARE NOT IMMORTAL,” Hodgman tweeted to his more than 900,000 followers.

Some detractors of the law also adopted the #GetCovered hashtag to criticize Obamacare.

“Because of #ACA, my private plan is ending 12/01/2014. Bronze plan is DOUBLE the premium. That’s Affordable? Thanks. #GetCovered,” a user with the handle @EricMerlau tweeted on Tuesday.

Recent Headlines

13 mins ago in Sports

Fantasy sports companies defend embattled industry

Fresh
fantasysports

Daily fantasy sports companies say their industry remains viable despite a rocky start to 2016.

16 mins ago in National

Congress likely to give final OK to local Internet tax ban

Fresh
cyber

Congress is a step away from sending to President Barack Obama a bipartisan compromise that would permanently keep state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet.

27 mins ago in Sports

Vickers to replace Tony Stewart

Fresh
brianvickers

Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a Friday news conference to discuss its plans for the No. 14 Chevrolet.

38 mins ago in Entertainment

Charlize Theron gearing up for ‘Fast 8’

Fresh
charlizetheron

The "Mad Max: Fury Road" star is in early talks to play the villain in the eighth installment of the hugely successful street racing series.

43 mins ago in Entertainment

‘Deadpool’ isn’t even out yet – but a sequel is in the works

Fresh
18-overlay-6

Ryan Reynolds suits up as the homicidal mercenary, aka Wade Wilson, in the adaptation of the Marvel comic book series, which opens Friday.