Forget the mom jeans. Forget the mom-knows-best TV ad campaign to boost Obamacare enrollment. And for heaven’s sake, forget Pajama Guy. How about a mom-hosted house party with an unannounced guest star — Dr. Jill Biden, aka Vice President Joe Biden’s wife?
Jill Biden dropped in late Tuesday on about 15 Dallas-area moms gathered at the home of Marie Murray in the middle-class suburb of DeSoto. She was there to kick-start the latest Affordable Care Act enrollment drive with just under six weeks before the March 31 deadline to apply for insurance or risk paying a fine.
Biden, who recently broke her left wrist, held up her cast and told other guests that everyone should sign up for insurance, because “accidents happen!”
"Everyone here knows, if you want something done, ask a mom. So what you're all here tonight to talk about is really important — we all need to sign up for health insurance and get our friends and family signed up, too," Biden said, according to an attendee.
The effort, backed by the group MomsRising, calls for 75-and-counting house parties in states such as California, Florida and Texas. Why those states? They are home to some of the highest rates of uninsured Americans.
In Texas, where Republican Gov. Rick Perry has opted not to expand access to Medicaid or build a state-run marketplace for insurance, an estimated 6.2 million people don’t have coverage — about one-quarter of the population. Florida had roughly the same proportion of its population without coverage, about 3.8 million people.
In Los Angeles country alone, an estimated 2 million people lack insurance.
And all three states are home to many Hispanics, a community in which an estimated one in three people is uninsured.
MomsRising spokeswoman Ashley Boyd told Yahoo News that event hosts — dubbed the “Wellness Wonder Team” — are encouraged to have HealthCare.gov “ready to go” and to expect that some of their guests will be uninsured Americans looking for help navigating the website and assessing their options.
MomsRising, which claims a membership of about 1 million nationwide, will help hosts who ask put together their house party, bringing in an expert or pulling in guests through its email list. But hosts can also try to take over an existing social event, according to Boyd. “I’m planning to hijack my book club,” she said with a laugh.
For Murray, a native Texan who is the mother of two and grandmother of three, MomsRising helped her invite folks from her area. Regional staff from the Department of Health and Human Services will also attend.
Biden, who has a doctorate in education, is better known for her advocacy on behalf of veterans. And don’t look for special guest stars at future house parties, Boyd said. It's not clear whether Michelle Obama, who has taken part in many Obamacare enrollment events, will turn up at one of these house parties.
On the other hand, Biden’s husband will deliver a similar pitch when he visits ABC’s "The View" next week.