Obama sat for an interview on "Between Two Ferns with Zach
Galifianakis," on the Funny or Die website. The actor, who
starred in "The Hangover" films, is known for his
cringe-inducing banter on the program.
Obama got the chance to urge the youth of America to get health
insurance, but not until he'd been subjected to questions like
"What is it like to be the last black president?" and "What
should be done about North Ikea?"
The administration is stepping up efforts to increase youth
participation in Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care
Youth participation is crucial to the success of the program,
but U.S. government data released on Tuesday showed that while
the number of people enrolled in private insurance under
Obamacare reached 4.2 million, the proportion of adults aged
18-34 remained unchanged from January at 25 percent of total
enrollment in private Obamacare plans.
That is well below the 38 percent that administration officials
have talked about achieving to give insurers a strong mix of
healthier members, whose premium payments help offset the cost
of older, sicker policy holders.
Obama's crusade to draw in young people has had help from
singers Lady Gaga and John Legend, as well as sports celebrities
including former basketball star Magic Johnson.
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While Galifianakis, who once told an interviewer "rudeness is
hilarious," may have seemed an odd match for the president, the
White House was thrilled at his ability to deliver a big audience of
"Very quickly, this video went, you know, viral," White House
spokesman Jay Carney said. The segment had already been viewed 3
million times, he added.
The Funny or Die website was the top source of referrals Tuesday to
healthcare.gov, the Obamacare website, Carney said.
On "Between Two Ferns," Galifianakis did not dial back his trademark
style, calling Obama a nerd and asking him if he was going to put
his presidential library in his "home country" of Kenya.
The president appeared to play along gamely and tried to match
Galifianakis insult for insult. "When I heard that people actually
watch this show, I was pretty surprised," Obama said.
When the president was finally allowed to make his pitch about the
benefits of signing up for health insurance, Galifianakis sighed,
looked at his watch and said, "Is this what they mean by drones?"
(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; editing
by Nick Zieminski and Tom Brown)
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