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

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: May 22

Fresh
rogers

A look at the news that made Hollywood history in years past.

in Local

Fire in Mount Vernon, Wash., building damages 3 businesses

fire truck back

Authorities say a stubborn fire has caused significant damage to three businesses that share a downtown Mount Vernon, Washington, building.

in Local

Oso store near mud slide in danger of closing

Tayler Drayton, 16, finishes painting words of support on a bus stop for those affected by a deadly mudslide nearly two weeks earlier nearby, Thursday, April 3, 2014, in Oso, Wash. More than a dozen people are listed as missing and 30 bodies have been found in debris from the March 22 landslide that broke off a steep hill, roared across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River and buried a community at Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle.

The owner of the Oso General Store is struggling to keep her business afloat just three months after opening.

in Local

Senate policy may reduce partisan squabbling on social media

A sidewalk outside the Legislative building is bustling with people on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.

A new Senate policy is attempting to reduce lawmakers' partisan squabbling on social media sites such as Twitter.

in Local

WSU researcher says drought could get worse

generic water sunset

Drought conditions in Washington that prompted Gov. Jay Inslee last week to declare an emergency are likely to grow worse.