White House continues education blitz on health insurance
July 16th, 2013
06:24 PM ET
1 year ago

White House continues education blitz on health insurance

(CNN) - On October 1, uninsured Americans can begin purchasing health insurance in state- or federal-run exchanges, and over the next 10 weeks the Obama administration is engaging in an all-out education blitz meant to encourage broad participation.

One part of the education effort is a series of public conference calls in both Spanish and English organized by the White House Initiative for Education Excellence for Hispanics, the first of which was held on Tuesday. The calls are intended to introduce Hispanic consumers and community leaders to services offered under the Affordable Care Act and help demystify the insurance marketplace.

On Tuesday's call, Mayra Alvarez walked participants through a 24-slide PowerPoint presentation that offered background on the ACA and a primer on how to enroll in a health insurance plan beginning October 1. Alvarez, who serves as the director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, told participants that outreach to Hispanic communities was particularly important to her department's efforts because one in three uninsured Americans are Hispanic

"One of the biggest challenges is reaching the millions of people that don't even know the health insurance marketplace is going to be available," Alvarez said on the call. "But frankly those people often aren't connected to their federal government. They're connected to their local YMCA or their health center or their church or their school, which is why we find it critical that we need to work with those community partners."

To accomplish that goal, Alvarez said that her colleagues at HHS are teaming up with officials from across the federal government to uncover where Americans get their information, and then "integrate material related to the marketplace." The effort employs 10 regional directors who are holding similar educational seminars on the local level.

"We are looking at any and all partners, whether it's media or different industries, entertainment to really figure out where do Americans get their information today and in particular where do families, where do young adults get their information today so that they can take advantage of this opportunity," Alvarez said.

This includes reaching out to members of Congress to ensure regional Congressional offices have materials about the insurance marketplaces and office staff are trained to answer constituents' questions. To engage Spanish-language media, Alvarez said she led a briefing for reporters from Telemundo and Univision before dialing into the conference call.

The leader of Tuesday's conference call, WHIEEH Deputy Director Marco Davis pointed out that educating the call's participants was one of the most powerful forms of outreach.

"The other key point of this effort is you, is folks on this call," Davis said. "That's part of the reason we're working with the Department of Health and Human Services to have these conference calls."

Davis announced plans for at least two more conference calls in coming weeks. Elsewhere in the administration, the Department of Education announced a similar call on Thursday aimed at educating faith-based groups on the ACA.


Filed under: Health care • Latinos • White House
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    They want rethugs to listen then don't call it education.

    July 16, 2013 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Larry L

    The provisions of Obamacare, if not associated with the President's name, are wildly popular with about 70% of the Republicans. Still, few have taken the time to actually read the law – trusting instead the spin-doctors (on both sides) to feed them their opinion. If people would do the math they would understand the absolute need for the young, healthier population to pay into the insurance pool before they reach retirement age. Think of auto insurance where only really bad drivers w/ many wrecks and repeat DUIs pay premiums. Nobody would have insurance and everybody but the mega-rich who experience major illnesses would either go broke or die w/o care. Right now the uninsured are funded by taxpayers who pick up the tab in higher healthcare costs.

    July 16, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Um... Yeah

    "Alvarez, who serves as the director of Public Health Policy in the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services..."
    What a mouthful. Sounds a heck of a lot like "middle management", which translates to "tax dollars at work here, people."

    July 16, 2013 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. Oakspar

    It seems that this is more of a propaganda campaign than education – to get people to buy into Federal healthcare rather than inform them about it.

    Of course, since the buisness side has been delayed (to keep it from harming the economy and loosing 2014 for the DEMS), what is going to happen is that buisnesses are going to dump their full time employee coverage forcing people to the state given care.

    July 16, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. hender1123

    Has anyone in the White House read the bill, or the regulations that are still being written? Has Obama even seen the completed bill? And what about all these regulations being written? No one is reviewing them and no one is there to approve them. They are automatically approved without review. Do you think that could be a problem? And writing all this so that a lawyer has to be hired to read it and give an opinion is just another form of job security for the politicians and the legal system. It's okay because we'll pay the bill. We're the stupid ones that need to be guided and taken care of. And these Liberal politicians are just the ones to take care of us.

    July 16, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. DH

    Finally. We can stop listening to the Repubs screaming like their hair is on fire. As soon as Americans see the affordable rates and excellent benefit packages available they will see the Repubs bs was just that, bs.

    July 16, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  7. Name ace1969

    Beating a dead horse that could never run to begin with

    July 16, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  8. simplyput

    Because my state has opted for a federally run exchange, NO money will be given to poor, sick people to help with the cost of insurance. Check out the facts, not the propaganda. I'll have no coverage because I can't afford it.

    July 17, 2013 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  9. Rogerd

    And why do we need calls in Spanish? Shouldn't you be fluent in English to receive AMERICAN Tax supported Entitlements?

    July 17, 2013 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  10. Dean

    Are there seperate initiatives for white- vs. black-hispanics?

    July 17, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  11. ghost

    Only ime will tell. Everyone in America should have insurance. I would also include a college degree as a basic right for American citizens. A healthy, well educated body will give every American the opportunity to succeed in life. No one should go broke for health and eduction costs. You go broke from living beyond your means.

    July 17, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  12. Canuck

    One day America will figure out that health care should NOT be controlled by for-profit insurance companies. Universal health care is not a communist plot – it is simply the right thing to do.

    July 17, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Data Driven

    @Marie,

    Ha ha - true!

    I do wish the Administration had done this 4 years ago, however. Might've saved some grief.

    July 17, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |