Last Updated:July 22 @ 07:58 am

First lady asks for Latinos' help on health care

By Associated Press

ORLEANS - Michelle Obama urged Latino activists on Tuesday to help sign people up for her husband's health care overhaul, especially the millions of younger, healthier people the system will need to offset the cost of caring for older, sicker consumers.

The first lady said that, starting July 31, consumers can create an account at www.healthcare.gov, or www.cuidadodesalud.gov, its Spanish-language equivalent, so they can get ready to sign up for health insurance in the fall, starting on Oct. 1.

"Simply passing the Affordable Care Act was not the goal," Mrs. Obama said at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group. "The goal is to get folks to sign up for the insurance so they have the care they need to stay healthy."

She emphasized "the need to reach out to our young people" since their participation is key to the law's success.

The Obama administration is looking for about 7 million people to sign up for health insurance through marketplaces that are supposed to become available online starting Oct. 1. More than 2.6 million younger enrollees are needed to keep costs down for the overall pool, the White House has said.

Nearly one-third of these young people live in California, Texas and Florida.

"So we need to send them to those websites which have all the information they need about health reform," Mrs. Obama said.

In the remarks, the first lady tied the push to get the uninsured to sign up for health care to her campaign against childhood obesity, which she said is seriously affecting the health of Latino children. She called the epidemic a policy, public health, family and community issue, and urged families to make the right diet and exercise choices for children who don't know enough to make the smart decisions on their own.

"We know better. And that is one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to our children. This is a gift," she said.

The first lady also mentioned immigration policy, saying President Barack Obama is working and fighting "every step of the way" on what is a priority issue for the president and for the group. The Senate has passed an immigration bill, but prospects in the House are less clear.

"But do not give up, because I promise you that my husband won't give up until a good bill gets on his desk," she said.

Benjamin Hernandez, a Houston resident who works for the city's Department of Health and Human Services, said he was thrilled that the first lady encouraged Latinos to sign up for health insurance.

"We have a lot of challenges in terms of obesity and chronic disease, so the more we get people on these programs, the more we get them on the health insurance exchanges, the better it is for the entire population," he said.

Mrs. Obama's remarks are part of a determined effort by the administration to inform the public about the health care law and its benefits as Oct. 1 nears. On Monday, Obama dropped in on a private White House meeting with celebrities including singer Jennifer Hudson and actors Amy Poehler and Kal Penn. The White House said the artists expressed interest in helping spread the word about the health insurance marketplaces opening Oct. 1.

After the conference visit, Mrs. Obama toured Sterling Farms, a suburban New Orleans grocery store opened by actor Wendell Pierce. It's intended as a way to provide better food access and jobs for residents.

Pierce, a New Orleans native, has been leading an effort to open grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

Mrs. Obama shook hands with shoppers and told several children there to be sure to eat their vegetables.

Before her arrival, a New Orleans police officer on a motorcycle was struck while he was in the procession of Mrs. Obama's motorcade, said Garry Flot, a police spokesman. "The officer was taken to a hospital and his injuries are not life threatening," said Flot, who did not release the officer's name.

The accident remains under investigation.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

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11 Comments

  1. davebnmComment by davebnm
    July 24, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

    Doesn’t she mean “white Hispanics?”
    .
    Does anyone notice that all of the people in the picture are black?

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    • wallybluComment by wallyblu
      July 24, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

      She’s asking the same group that her Husband called racist for attacking Trayvon to help her and they probably will.

      You can’t fix stupid.

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  2. 440voltComment by 440volt
    July 24, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Why are the Republicans as well as the Democraps falling all over themselves to suck up to 16.7 percent (Hispanics)of the US population?

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  3. rickosheaComment by rickoshea
    July 24, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

    Did she forget to mention that it’s young people who will almost pay for the whole debacle? The sooner people sign up, the sooner they find out they were screwed without knowing it.

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  4. syebComment by syeb
    July 24, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    “since their participation is key to the law’s success.”

    Meaning: “since their MONEY is key to the law’s success.”

    Just another redistribution scheme.

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  5. Mort_fComment by Mort_f
    July 24, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

    Just have all the illegals, who are sending money out of the country, just send their money to an ObamaCare fund. I guess she will not offer that ‘suggestion’.

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  6. JDZComment by JDZ
    July 24, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

    She knows the Obamacare legislation is in trouble as more and more of the details are being exposed. She also knows that if the government cannot show that enough younger Americans are willing to sign up for insurance that they do not want in the first place, that the whole financial model falls apart. She is out trying to con Hispanics into buying in, Obama himself has asked entertainment celebrities to help sell Obamacare, and he also asked the NFL and the NBA to help sell the program but both turned him down.

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  7. genesalComment by genesal
    July 24, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    Just know that ‘First Lady’ is just a title, not a description.

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  8. ssoldieComment by ssoldie
    July 25, 2013 @ 12:09 am

    Ever the campaigner, just like her hubby. Is that a white hispanic she is talking with?

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  9. gnafuComment by gnafu
    July 25, 2013 @ 9:45 am

    Why not ask the American Citizens how much they like Government Health Care, Michele? Are you afraid you will get some intelligent answers and questions about the cost of the health program that was “forced” through Congress? The health care is simply incomprehensive! As well, Not Constitutional! This “ObamaCare” is going to sink because it has become a financial and paperwork nightmare. The only people who like ObamaCare are those who will not work for a living or they have been on welfare for so long that they demand more freebies.

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  10. KBBComment by KBB
    July 26, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

    “Latino activists” = code word for “Community Organizers for illegal aliens”. Obamacare will only work if massive numbers of healthy bodies are enrolled. Obama is so desperate for bodies that he delayed the employer mandate to get rid of the verification checkpoint in order to maximize enrollments. Without the mandate, anyone can step forward and claim they need subsidized Obamacare because they can’t get healthcare anywhere else, and they’ll be enrolled, no proof of anything needed. It’s like the healthcare version of “no voter ID needed nor wanted”. Obama doesn’t care if Obamacare is “not ready to work properly” or if employers need more time to prepare for it. Obamacare is not, nor was it ever, about effective administration of good healthcare.

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