HHS looks to celebs, professional sports to promote healthcare reform

With deadlines for healthcare reform implementation quickly approaching, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is ramping up promotional efforts and calling on the help of some famous faces.

This week, HHS kicked off its healthcare insurance exchange education efforts, re-launching the healthcare.gov website and opening a 24/7 call center.

The agency is also heading to the Hollywood hills, hoping to recruit celebrity spokespeople for the healthcare reform law, a top celebrity political adviser told The Hill's Healthwatch. Having celebrity endorsements would allow the Obama administration to reach young people and get them to sign up for coverage and benefits under the new law, the article noted.

Healthcare reform ads could feature several Hollywood A-listers who have ties to President Barack Obama--whether through personal friendships or political support--including Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Jay-Z and Beyonce, among others, according to another article from The Hill's Healthwatch.

Longoria, who served as national co-chair for Obama's re-election campaign, focused on Latino voters, who are key to the healthcare law's success, the article noted.

In addition to celebrities, HHS is reaching out to professional sports leagues for help promoting healthcare reform provisions. The agency may partner with the NFL to educate consumers about insurance exchanges and encourage enrollment, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

HHS also contacted the NBA about partnering up to market the reform law, Politico reported. With an HHS-NBA partnership, basketball icons like the Miami Heat's LeBron James could star in ad campaigns that appeal to young, single males.

For more:
- read the Healthwatch articles on celeb outreach and potential sponsors
- here's the Politico article