White House Pushes for Black Enrollees

Jonathan Easley, The Hill, February 21, 2014

The Obama administration is engaged in a “final coordinated push” to enroll blacks in ObamaCare, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said Friday.

Jarrett said blacks have a “disproportionately low rate of coverage,” and called enrolling them the administration’s “top priority.”

“We still have a long way to go and we want to make sure we take advantage of every opportunity for outreach,” she said in a Friday conference call with reporters and three mayors that preside over large black communities: Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, Calif., Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and A.C. Wharton of Memphis, Tenn.

An estimated 6.8 million African-Americans lack healthcare coverage. The 2014 enrollment deadline closes on March 31.

The Obama administration said youth organizers and stakeholders would be launching enrollment events targeting black youths in the coming weeks. {snip}

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has not said how many blacks have enrolled in ObamaCare, but enrollment trends in California, where Hispanic enrollment appears to be lagging, have stoked fears that minority groups are not getting the administration’s message.

Wharton said one of the barriers to enrollment in his poverty-stricken city is that the poor have become so reliant on free emergency room services that any cash outlay for insurance, no matter how cheap, would be a sticker shock for some of his citizens.

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