Younger people, college students key to Obama’s health law

WASHINGTON (AP) – “Do you guys have health insurance?” David Bransfield asks each time a group of college students passes by.

Some nod yes. A few promise to stop back after class. Others don’t bother removing their headphones.

Nearly every day, Bransfield comes to a satellite campus of the University of the District of Columbia in the shadow of the Capitol, sitting for hours behind a table in the lobby of a classroom building.

With an Apple laptop and lots of fliers, he’s part of the army of workers and volunteers trying to enroll young, and probably healthy, people in health insurance available through President Barack Obama’s law.

Run largely by groups with close ties to the White House, the recruiting effort is based in part on lessons learned from Obama’s presidential races, which revolutionized the way campaigns tracked and targeted voters.

“On the campaign, you want to be able to find an Obama voter and you want to get them to vote,” said Matt Saniie, who worked on the 2012 campaign’s data team and is now analytics director at the organization Enroll America. “In the enrollment world, you want to find someone who is uninsured and you want to get them to enroll.”

More than any other group, participation from among the “young invincibles” – those ages 18 to 34 – will be crucial to the law’s success.