Deadline days away, White House going all out to hit Obamacare target

President Obama speaks at the screening of the film "Cesar Chavez" March 19, 2014, in the Old Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. AP Photo

The Obama administration is launching a final push to get Americans registered for health insurance before the end of the month.

More than five million people signed up through the Affordable Care Act - about one million less than the administration's current goal of six million and about two million less than the initial target of seven million.

The deadline to sign up for health care is now less than two weeks away, and the president and his staff are in overdrive working to get people signed up, particularly young, healthy people whose premiums are needed to offset the cost of care for the people who are older and sicker, Bill Plante reported.

President Obama promotes health care at every opportunity, including at a screening Wednesday of a new film about Mexican-American civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. He said then, "Get on the website, spread the word."

It's all part of a multi-tiered state and national effort to get young people enrolled before the March 31 deadline, including supportive celebrity tweets and videos, and a tongue-in-cheek "toolkit" that teaches parents how to get on social media and "nag" their children "mercilessly."

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough appeared on a Cleveland radio show to push a new sports-themed portal to HealthCare.gov.

"Somebody's playing hoops, and they blow out a knee or something, and then, all of a sudden, if you don't have health care, you're going to bankrupt yourself," McDonough said.

In order to meet its revised goals, the administration will need about a million more people to sign up before the end of the month, but it also needs a large number of young and healthy people.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "In order to reach them, we have to, you know, be creative, and that's what we've done."

Asked if he was suggesting that Mr. Obama doesn't need to get more young people to sign up, Carney said, "No, no. I said that we're going to be working hard right up to the deadline."

Being creative means sitting down for interviews with everyone from local news reporters to comedian Zach Galifianakis last week.

And, Thursday, the president goes on Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show for the first time since he was a candidate.

White House officials say the president's appearance on "Ellen" is focused on convincing moms to get their young adult kids to sign up, Plante reported. They acknowledge that they need young people but also claim that the insurance industry is comfortable with the balance of people getting new policies.

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