Kal Penn on a voter registration campaign for Barack Obama in 2008

President Obama is banking on several big name celebrities to help spread the world about the new health insurance exchanges that will begin open enrollment this October. From the LA Times:

Senior administration officials met Monday morning with a group of entertainers to talk about media campaigns to reach young Americans about the Affordable Care Act, according to a White House official.

Among those at the meeting were: actors Jennifer Hudson, Kal Penn and Amy Poehler; Mike Farah of the website Funny or Die; Daniel Kellison of YouTube Comedy; “Royal Pains” sitcom creator Andrew Lenchewski and songwriter Bruce Roberts.

Also in attendance were representatives for Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, the Latin Recording Academy and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which produces the Grammys.

To get average premiums on the new exchanges as low as possible requires signing up a substantial number of young and healthy people. Young adults have become a big focus of the administration’s outreach for this reason.

The first year is critical because it sets a pattern for the future. If young people sign up in large numbers this year, premiums on the exchange next year will remain lower and make it more attractive to others in subsequent years. On the other hand, if only the old and sick sign up this year it will cause a jump in premiums next year making the program seem less attractive moving forward.

Obama seems to be counting on his personal connection with celebrities to make up for some of the lack in outreach he expect many of the states to engage in.

Photo by Barack Obama Campaign under Creative Commons license