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 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…