March 12th, 2014
05:11 PM ET
6 months ago

HealthCare.gov gets 40% jump in traffic after Funny or Die video

(CNN) - Roughly 24 hours after a video was posted Tuesday morning of President Obama sitting down for an appearance on comedian Zach Galifianakis' show "Between Two Ferns," more than 13 million people have watched the interview and some 54,000 of them have taken the President's advice and checked out the government-run insurance exchange HealthCare.gov.

"I think what it says is that gone are the days when your broadcasts, or yours, or yours, can reach everybody that we need to reach," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, pointing to representatives from various major television news outlets at his briefing on Tuesday.

On an average day in February, more 33,600 people selected a new insurance plan using an Obamacare exchange. On Tuesday, the satirical interview between Galifianakis and Obama, produced by FunnyorDie.com, drove nearly twice that many to the government-run insurance marketplace, but a fuller picture of how many of those visitors actually signed up won't become clear until new numbers are released sometime next month.

An official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that there were more than 890,000 site visits to HealthCare.gov on Tuesday, marking a 40% increase over the day before, and FunnyorDie.com was the day's top referrer.

The White House has just over two weeks left before enrollment closes on Obamacare marketplaces across the country, and the Galifianakis interview represents one part of the administration's final push to encourage young, uninsured Americans to purchase insurance before the March 31 deadline.

So far just 25% of those who've enrolled through the end of February are between the ages of 18 and 34, an age group that is seen as healthier than others and thus key to controlling medical costs on the new Obamacare exchanges. Youth enrollment is way below the administration's original target of 40% but high enough to ensure that the insurance exchanges are sustainable, administration officials have said.

"Very quickly this video went viral and not just because people thought it was funny and the regular viewers of Funny or Die clicked on it and watched it, but that it was getting folks - the video itself was causing the action that we hoped it would cause, which is getting folks to go to HealthCare.gov and look at the options available to them and hopefully enroll," Carney said.

The video released Tuesday was created in part by the comedy website Funny or Die, where the average audience skews young. According to a spokesman for the site, the President's appearance has been in the works since the site's executives met with the President at the White House last summer.

"There were obviously some really accomplished people in the room, but they all started out as struggling artists," said Funny or Die president of production Mike Farah soon after attending the meeting, adding that most of the people in attendance had gone without insurance at some point in their lives.

Funny or Die makes 25 or 30 original videos a month, and since the meeting last summer they've tried to help the White House get their enrollment message to go viral by publishing several light-hearted videos featuring celebrities pitching the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

"It all starts with something being funny," Farah said.

Touting the administration's other efforts, like a recent presidential town hall hosted by Spanish-language media outlets and an online question-and-answer session on the medical website WebMD, Carney said that videos like the one released Tuesday will be "one of the reasons we get young Americans to HealthCare.gov, one of the reasons we get young Americans to enroll in health insurance programs, but not the only way."


Filed under: Obamacare
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Yes, ACA is a Law, dire need of this nation. Think about insurance thugs denial and Hospital overcharge to un-needed tests for Greed. Now, pathetic is republican idiots want to get rid off it, just know these animals are bribed by Koch brothers. Vote out all the rethuglicans. Florida old coot election in just one corner is not an example.

    March 12, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Si is ripe in USA.

    March 12, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    In a few weeks, we will see over 15 million who were uninsured now have health care under tACA. ( 3.5 million students on their parents plan, 5.5 million in Medicaid expansion, and 6 million new enrollees) The number of uninsured is at the lowest rate since 2008. Insurance costs have dropped since January. All good news as Boehner and the obstructionists will take their 51 vote to repeal ACA this week.

    March 12, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Tom

    But Fox News has already declared this interview to be unbecoming for a sitting President. How dare you try to confuse the issue by discussing results?

    March 12, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. CALIFORNIA

    While this video is funny it also makes Obama look like a dolt.

    March 12, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    40% of a very small number is an even smaller number.

    March 12, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. hellsyeahs

    Republicans hate this news. Wonder how fox is spinning this?

    March 12, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. kurt

    "While this video is funny it also makes Obama look like a dolt."

    How old are you?

    I"m not even that young (mid-30's) but I think it shows him to be pretty humorous and a cool guy.

    You have to realize that people my age and younger consume things differently. Many prefer to watch a satirized version of the news (Daily Show or Colbert Report) over the real news because many feel the comedians are more honest about what's really happening.

    People clamoring about the "integrity of the office" are out of touch with the people that are coming through the workforce today. Someone who can make fun of themselves while still providing us information we need is something we like.

    March 12, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    David Gergen apparently stands corrected then:

    Gergen via Twitter: "Obama has better ways to reach young about AA."

    Really, Gergen? Better than a 40% jump in traffic? Well then, why are you holding back, Captain Ideas? Let's hear what those "better ways" are that you're sooooo aware of...hmmmmm? Or would you like to publicly admit how wrong you are?

    March 12, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. wendel

    what ever it takes . Keep signing them up Mr. President. they think you look like a dolt but some clown like Nugent is just fine??? Really? Once everyone gets covered they will not be able to lie anymore. Vote all trolls out mid term.

    March 12, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Smitty

    I don't think so. But how can you when your pres is the BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR. This admin has been a failure on all fronts and lie after lie.

    March 12, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Jan Nappylotto

    So the millions wasted on commercials and outreach programs failed to get sign ups but an appearance on an obscure comedy website actually generated traffic.

    4 million sign-ups. 7 million sign-ups needed for Obamacare to be sustainable and avoid its death spiral. Prepare to get mangled by taxes to pay for the Obamacare bailout.

    March 12, 2014 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. king

    Obama is slowly giving the people what they want by quietly getting rid of obamacare, the repubs have won, and bringing back the status quo is what they paid billions of dollars to accomplished. get rid of this law Obama and allow millions of people hired by obamacare directly and in directly to be fired. these people cry about change, but they the first ones to jump ship when the repubs shout boo. the repubs won Obama get rid of universal healthcare, because if it was left up the repubs about getting something even close, people would dying left and right, and millions would be going into bankruptcy.

    March 12, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Sam

    How desperate they must be in the W.H. to come up with such propaganda.

    March 12, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Health plans and employers WANT the ACA, because they know it will result in lower health care costs over time. Why? Because people will have access to preventive care so they'll be seeking it at the primary care doctor's office instead of the ER. Because it will make the healthcare market more competitive, as providers have to compete for business. Because it will help companies attract and retain talent.

    March 12, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. Too Scruffy

    The prestige of the president's office has shrunk to that of an insurance salesman. We are all so proud of Little Barry and his accomplishments: from community organizer to the AFLAC duck!

    March 12, 2014 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  17. matt

    then why won't they released the official numbers of who actually signed up and paid? Watching this thing burn down is so funny.

    March 12, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. Name

    The President is -The MAN!

    March 12, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. Peace

    That was a smart thing to do. I wish this was done several times since ACA enrollment started. For the first time ever young voters got their special realisation of their existence from the President and they like it. They have been excluded ever since as if they are not part of the society. The President is their President too.

    March 12, 2014 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. Independent Thinker

    This was a great video! It fits right in with the whole ACA comedic experience. This has got to be the first advertisement to get people to sign up and have their wealth redistributed to others, and I don't think Obama lied in the whole thing. PT Barnum was right!

    March 13, 2014 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  21. BErnard obryant

    THey need to show dying video to promote obamacare hmmm amazing

    March 13, 2014 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Better to have and not need than to need and not have

    March 13, 2014 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  23. Bigdoglv

    So you can tell me traffic is up 40 percent but can't tell who has paid. Yeah right.

    March 13, 2014 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  24. mary

    how stupid...so people signed up for insurance because they saw a Funny or Die video? I call bull.

    March 13, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |