POLITICS

World Of Healthcraft: Obama Administration Partners With Online Gamers To Promote Obamacare

02/11/2015 11:33 am ET | Updated Feb 11, 2015

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is partnering with high-profile members of the fast-growing electronic sports and video gaming community as part of the White House's effort to drive Affordable Care Act sign-ups ahead of the enrollment deadline Sunday.

The Electronic Sports League released a video Wednesday that features various e-sports personalities, targeted at the American fans of professional video game competitions who have not yet enrolled for health care coverage through a state or federal exchange.

"We're excited to work with eSports and other high-profile members of the video game industry to remind people there are only a few days left to sign up for health insurance coverage," said Kevin Counihan, director and marketplace CEO of the Center for Consumer and Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "We encourage folks to beat the crowd by visiting the website today and to sign up for quality, affordable health insurance through healthcare.gov by February 15."

The promotional video features Anna Prosser Robinson, a pro-player, commentator and former Miss Oregon; Geoff "iNcontroL" Robinson, a professional Starcraft II player and announcer; announcer Joshua "Clutch" Gray; and pro-player Randal "Ruukil" Holcombe.

"We found out that my husband, who is a pro-gamer, had a blood clot in his leg and needed emergency care," Prosser Robinson says in the video.

Geoff, her husband, adds, "We were insured so I was able to get through it, and I was able to use the health care system to have a full recovery."

Partnering with the White House are the Electronic Sports League and the streaming website Twitch.tv, which is owned by Amazon. Both are promoting Obamacare enrollment on their online channels.

"We're very excited about this initiative so we're going all out with it: we're engaging our main @ESL Twitter account, as well as the accounts of the personalities that were involved in the production of the video and more," ESL's head of communications, Anna Rozwandowicz, said in an email to HuffPost. "Overall, that's several hundred thousands of young people we're hoping to reach with this initiative!"

The White House has attempted to appeal to diverse constituencies to encourage health insurance enrollment. Perhaps most famously, President Barack Obama taped an interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis, for his web-based talk show "Between Two Ferns," to encourage young people to enroll. In the wake of that video's release, the website FunnyOrDie.com, which hosts Galifianakis' show, became the top source of referrals to HealthCare.gov.

A less successful venture was the Obama administration's attempt to partner with the National Football League and other sports organizations in 2013, when the leagues ultimately decided not to get involved.

The share of Americans without health insurance fell below 13 percent by the end of 2014, a steep drop from the 17.1 percent who were uninsured at the end of 2013. A 2014 Gallup poll found that the change, for the most part, resulted from increased coverage through the health reform law's health insurance exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid access.

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