(2013-12-14) — In a major effort to induce young people to sign up for coverage at HealthCare.gov, the White House announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services will be “the marquee sponsor of midnight” on New Year’s Eve in Times Square, and that “President Obama will follow singer Miley Cyrus, and personally drop the ball.”
“Millions of young Americans watch the countdown in Times Square,” said press secretary Jay Carney. “The president thinks it’s a great way to visually connect and to let them know that enrolling at HealthCare.gov is hip, it’s happening, it’s now.”
Carney added that Obama hopes that “young people certainly don’t miss the symbolism as the glittering orb descends from its lofty perch and is subsumed in the melee of humanity below.”
Unconfirmed reports last month indicated that the president would name HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as “the official ball dropper,” but that he changed his mind after HealthCare.gov “started virtually functioning for the vast minority of users.”
The sponsorship decision has already paid off, according to ABC-TV, which announced that New Year’s Eve show host Dick Clark, 84, decided to enroll in ObamaCare because “I can’t be declined due to preexisting conditions.”
The President reportedly sent Mr. Clark a handwritten thank-you note, like the ones he has mailed to each enrollee so far.