In an effort to boost enrollment in Obamacare, administration officials have enlisted noted health care expert/game show judge Adam Levine, along with several other celebrities, to convince young people to sign up. "The idea is a drumbeat of dialogue, a drumbeat of discussion about coverage -- not about glitches, not about the politics, not about the pundits,” said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state’s insurance exchange, a.k.a. the mastermind who believes that People's sexiest man alive and a social media campaign will help get healthy people jazzed about insurance.
Levine will be joined in his efforts by Fran Drescher, Kal Penn, and basketball star Lisa Leslie.
The move is odd considering people don't usually associate Levine with things like wellness checkups and premium subsidies. Tattoos, yoga, falsettos, shameful lust, and wares from K-Mart are more his forte. It makes you wonder just how bad the enrollment situtation is if the Levine Option has been activated. Is Levine's involvement a sign that things are worse than imagined? Numbers are still lagging, but the administration has said enrollments were still on track to reach 7 million by the end of March.
Levine, Penn, and Leslie are all Obama allies and the campaign's organizers believe they will help spread word of the president's plan, just as they supported him in 2012. Bloomberg reports that "organizers plan to use celebrity promotions and professionally produced videos aimed at inspiring Americans to encourage friends to enroll. The goal is generating 100 million Internet contacts before open enrollment closes March 31."
On the bright side (for healthcare advocates), Levine's deployment could also be a sign that enrollment isn't that bad. Obama has bigger allies in his bullpen than Levine, Leslie, and Penn, if he needs a real closer. If the exchanges were in truly terrible shape, he could still call on Anna Wintour, George Clooney, Bono, or even Lena Dunham. When Oprah starts doing radio ads for HealthCare.gov, then you'll know things are really desperate.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.