Organizing for Action, the advocacy group closely aligned with President Obama's agenda, launched a new campaign Friday, encouraging families to press loved ones to purchase health insurance during the holidays under the Affordable Care Act.
A new "Health Care for the Holidays" website debuted after midnight Eastern time, along with a YouTube video featuring a young man confronted by his parents at the dinner table over his lack of health insurance. "We have something really important to talk to you about," his parents say in the video titled "Get ready to have the talk."
The website offers tips on how to have a conversation with family members about health care and encourages visitors to "think about how you'll bring it up" with relatives during the holidays.
"Be persistent, but keep it positive," the site advises. "Tell them you care about their health, and focus on the benefits that come from knowing that you have health insurance."
Despite the serious problems continuing to plague the Obamacare exchange site HealthCare.gov, the OFA campaign says, "It is an easy way to find plans, compare them, and sign up for the one that's right for you," painting a very rosy picture of the site where only six of 4.7 million people managed to sign up on the day of the launch.
The White House has vowed to get the website where millions are expected to purchase health insurance working smoothly for the "vast majority" of users by the end of November, potentially leaving the site crippled through Thanksgiving.
There have been growing concerns that given the failed initial launch of Obamacare the system could fall into an insurance "death spiral," where only older and sicker people rush to sign up, causing medical costs to rise and in turn raising future premiums, effectively making it too expensive for healthier people to buy in to the insurance pool.
To avoid the problem, administration officials believe at least 2.7 million young, healthy people need to sign up for health insurance in order to prevent premiums from spiking for everyone else.
OFA, which formed from the remnants of Obama's 2012 reelection campaign and is focused on boosting public support for the president's policies, is seen as an organizing juggernaut that could rally Democrats and help push through legislation on social issues.
The group's new holiday campaign site compiled a list of what it calls health care "misconceptions," and provided talking points to alleviate concerns family members may have.
"Tell them there are a variety of plans available in the new health insurance marketplace, so you can pick one that fits your budget," it states, while touting some may be able to get financial assistance and coverage for under $100 a month.
"You don't have to complete the process all in one sitting, and you can do it over the phone, online, or in person."
The four-step campaign ends with a pledge users can make to encourage their family members to purchase health insurance.
OFA included this video showing a young man's parents pressing him to "get covered" over a holiday dinner.
Jon Passantino is a deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jon Passantino at email@example.com.
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