President Gets Sports Stars To Help With Obamacare

Magic Johnson is out to help the White House pitch the Affordable Care Act
Magic Johnson is out to help the White House pitch the Affordable Care Act

NBC News is reporting that Magic Johnson says an early checkup saved his life – warning him that he had HIV in time to start taking medication to stay healthy. Alonzo Mourning says a regular physical showed him he had kidney disease.

The two former basketball stars are kicking off a full court press by the White House to recruit young adults – specifically, young men – to sign up for health insurance.

Look for a lot more of this sort of thing, the White House says. The window of opportunity to sign up for health insurance on the federal and state exchanges closes March 31, and the administration is under extreme political pressure to sign up as many people as possible.

Plus, it’s safe to send people to the exchanges now that most of them are working. “Now that there is a functioning website you will see a concerted effort across the board,” David Simas, White House Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy, told NBC News.

Most desirable are the healthy young adults who, it is hoped, will pay premiums without using much health care, making it cost-effective for insurers to provide care to older, sicker folks.

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, 54, is retired now. But he was a legend playing point for the LA Lakers. He’ll push the message that good health care can help anyone, in any kind of shape.

“It saved my life,” Johnson says in a video posted on the WhiteHouse.gov website. “I remember when I took my physical and they told me I had HIV over 22 years ago. If it wasn’t for that quality healthcare that I had and the plan that I had, I probably would have been dead.”

That’s because quick treatment with antiviral drugs can keep the AIDS virus suppressed, while people who don’t get treated die of diseases ranging from pneumonia to cancer. MORE…

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved with Berman Concerts and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.