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Oprah, Funny or Die and the Grammys want to promote Obamacare

What do Oprah, Funny or Die and the Grammys have in common? All three, it turns out, have volunteered to promote Obamacare.

Senior advisor Valerie Jarrett hosted a meeting Monday with a star-studded group of actors, musicians, writers and producers who have "expressed a personal interest in educating young people about the Affordable Care Act," according to a White House official.

Young people are crucial to the Affordable Care Act's success, and the White House estimates it needs 2.7 million of them to sign up for health coverage in 2014. With typically low health costs, it's this demographic that Obama administration is relying on to keep premiums low on the new marketplaces.

So, who might be doing the outreach? Via the same White House official, an annotated list of the meeting attendees (and celebrities who sent representatives) who could very well be your next Obamacare spokesman.

Oprah Winfrey. She didn't attend Monday's White House meeting herself, but did have a representative present. The talk show magnate was more of a presence in Obama's first campaign than his reelection bid. If she still had her talk show, the possibility for health insurance giveaways would be endless. 

You get an insurance plan, and you get an insurance plan, and you get an insurance plan! (OWN)

Funny or Die and YouTube's Comedy Channel.  Funny or Die is already at work, according to the White House official, "on production for several web videos featuring well-known comedic celebrities and actors." Funny or Die's Mike Farah and YouTube's Daniel Kellison both attended Monday's meeting and could each be potent forces. Funny or Die currently boasts 19 million unique visitors each month and advocated for the health law during the Congressional debate. YouTube's Comedy Channel, meanwhile, has 600,000 subscribers.

No word yet on who the celebrities are or what form the Funny or Die videos might take, but may we suggest "Between Two Insurance Marketplaces"?

Jennifer Hudson. The former "American Idol" runner-up is another natural fit: She serenaded the President and first lady at this year's inaugural ball. Perhaps an Oregon-esque jingle is in store?

Alicia Keys. She sent a representative to the White House meeting and, a few months ago, also performed a spin on one of her hits at the inaugural ball, "Obama's on Fire."

Bon Jovi. Because when you want to reach young voters...he's your guy? Yeah, we're not quite sure either. College students do, for what it's worth, really love "Livin' on a Prayer."

Kal Penn. Not exactly a surprise here: Penn did a stint at the White House's Office of Public engagement after rising to celebrity as Kumar of "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle" fame. Adding to his credibility, Penn currently plays a doctor on "How I Met Your Mother." Who better to dispense medical advice!

Amy Poehler. The former "Saturday Night Live" and current "Parks and Rec" star put out a video late last year endorsing the president's reelection campaign in a relatively straightforward message: "If you can vote, go vote for Obama."

Also present at the White House meetings were representatives for the Grammys and Latin Grammys, although what role they would play isn't clear. The Obama administration has made it clear that it's a priority to reach Latino voters, 10 million of whom will qualify for health law benefits.



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Dylan Matthews · July 22, 2013

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