Michelle Obama: 'Make It a Christmas Treat' to Talk About Health Insurance

December 19, 2013 - 5:45 AM

Michelle Obama

President Barack Obama, right, gestures as he speaks to the media as he and first lady Michelle Obama meet with a group of mothers in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, to sell Obamacare. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - Reaching out to "moms" on Wednesday, President and Mrs. Obama urged them to encourage others to enroll in Obamacare.

"And we urge people to reach out. And if they signed up their child, then signed up -- sign up their friends," Mrs. Obama said. "You know, if you've got grandkids, make it a Christmas treat around the table to talk about a little health care. You know, ring in the new year with a -- new coverage." (Chuckles.)

Mrs. Obama said when she thinks of Obamacare, "the words that come to mind for me are peace of mind." She said it's not about politics -- it's about a "safety net" to prevent medical bills from bankrupting patients.

"And as Barack said, your stories are powerful. And it's our job as mothers to make sure that our young people are informed about, you know, their invincibility, to make sure that other moms and families out there really understand what this law provides, and that they can take advantage of it. This is the beauty of it. People have choices. They can go onto the website, they can talk to a navigator, they can learn for themselves what the law means and what it doesn't mean.

And that's really, really what we want people to do, is educate yourselves. Get that education. Make the choice that's best for your family because the options are there," she said.

President Obama said despite the "rocky start" with the healthcare.gov website, hundreds of thousands of people are signing up for health insurance.

"And, you know, we anticipate that there are still going to be challenges over the coming months, and we're going to continue to find ways to smooth out this transition and make sure that people know what the Affordable Care Act is actually about," the president said.

He said he's confident that "the demand is there, the need is there," and he thanked the moms who are urging others to sign up:

"What we communicated to the women here is there's something about moms -- (laughter) -- that, number one, they got credibility generally; number two, women oftentimes are the ones who are making the health care decisions in the family; number three, moms can tell young people who think they're invincible that they're not and prod them to at least get information."

Obama said "face-to-face interaction" is important in selling his health insurance plans.

"So I just want to say to all the women here who have been telling their stories and working with others to make sure that people get good information, we are grateful to you. It's a great gift what you're doing. And we're really, really appreciative. So, yeah."

'Very helpful assistance'

White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked on Wednesday why Mrs. Obama is playing a bigger role in the Obamacare push.

"Well, she's a mom," Carney said, adding that she's also "a great messenger."

"And while, you know, she didn't, you know, develop the Affordable Care Act or wasn't involved in the policy process, she believes deeply in the need to deliver affordable, quality health insurance to the American people and, in this case, to make sure that young people, young Americans understand the value of being covered, whether it's on their parent's plans or on plans that they can get themselves affordably.

"So you know, we think it's, you know, a very helpful assistance -- piece of assistance that she's providing here by getting this message out with the president that moms around the country can play a big role in getting this message out to their kids and to other members of their family."