| WASHINGTON, March 11
WASHINGTON, March 11 President Barack Obama took
his quest to sign young people up for health insurance to a
comedy website on Tuesday, where he traded insults with host
Zach Galifianakis while plugging his signature Obamacare health
Obama sat for an interview on "Between Two Ferns with Zach
Galifianakis," on the Funny or Die comedy website. The actor,
who starred in "The Hangover" films, is known for his
cringe-inducing banter on the program.
Obama got the chance to plug his signature health care
program, but not until he'd been subjected to questions like
"What is it like to be the last black president?" and "What
should be done about North Ikea?"
The administration is stepping up efforts to increase youth
participation in Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care
Youth participation is crucial to the success of the
program, but U.S. government data released in February showed
the segment of adults aged 18-34 rose only slightly by the end
of January to 25 percent of total enrollment in private
That is well below the 38 percent that administration
officials have talked about achieving to give insurers a strong
mix of healthier members, whose premium payments help offset the
cost of older, sicker policy holders.
Obama's crusade to draw in young people has had help from
singers Lady Gaga and John Legend, as well as sports celebrities
including former basketball star Magic Johnson.
On "Between Two Ferns," host Galifianakis did not spare
Obama from his trademark awkwardness, calling him a nerd and
asking him if he's going to put his presidential library in his
"home country" of Kenya.
The president appeared to play along gamely and tried to
match Galifianakis insult for insult. "When I heard that people
actually watch this show, I was pretty surprised," Obama said.
When Obama was finally allowed to make his pitch about the
benefits of signing up for health insurance, Galifianakis
sighed, looked at his watch and said, "Is this what they mean by
(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Nick Zieminski)