President Obama to Speak in San Jose on Health Law

Remarks expected to focus on outreach and enrollment to Latinos, young people

President Obama at a White House ceremony in February. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Obama at a White House ceremony in February. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Obama is expected to deliver remarks about the ongoing implementation of his signature health law, the Affordable Care Act, Friday morning in San Jose.

Last month the state’s health insurance marketplace, Covered California, released preliminary plans and premiums they expect to offer. Average premiums for these plans were lower than had been anticipated. Senior administration officials say they are “encouraged by what we see in California” in terms of “competitive choices.”

Starting Jan. 1, most Americans will be required to have health insurance or pay a fine. Under the health law, many Americans will be eligible for subsidies to help them buy health insurance.

Administration officials say the goal is to enroll 7 million people nationwide and that “it’s important that we get 2.6 to 2.7 million young, healthy people.” These younger, healthier people are necessary in a large pool of enrollees to spread risk and avoid the possibility that insurance rates will spike in the future. One in three of these young people are in just three states: California, Texas and Florida.

In California, 6 million people overall are eligible for the new insurance marketplace. More than 2 million of them will be eligible for subsidies, and half of those eligible are Latinos. A White House official told reporters that the president will “highlight efforts to ensure that Latinos are enrolled in California.” Administration officials said that Spanish language media — Univision, Telemundo, ImpreMedia — will play a role in reaching this population. “We looked at messages and messengers that would be best for reaching that audience,” administration officials said. A statewide health care foundation, The California Endowment, is also heavily involved in outreach efforts.

Immigrants living in the U.S. illegally are not eligible for any benefits under the health law, including subsidies.

The president is also expected to discuss education and outreach plans about the health law in general. Covered California recently awarded $37 million in grants for community education and also expects to launch a public education campaign this summer.

In California, 13 plans will be offered in the state’s insurance marketplace, pending approval by state regulators. Open enrollment will start Oct. 1, and insurance will take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

The president’s remarks will come a day after a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that many Americans remain displeased with the law: 41 percent said the law is a “bad idea” versus 35 percent who said it’s a “good idea,” NBC reported.

Learn more about the health law:

Obamacare Explained: A Guide for Californians (KQED)

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