Hall of Fame basketball player, entrepreneur and activist Earvin “Magic” Johnson has joined forces with the White House to urge young Americans, especially young men, to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Former basketball players Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning both faced major illnesses that would have led to death had they not been covered by health insurance. Johnson, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1991, and Mourning, who suffered kidney failure, volunteered to help President Obama and the White House with the Affordable Care Act in hopes of attracting the attention of more individuals to sign up before the March 31 deadline.
In the two-minute ad, Johnson explains he had no idea he was sick until undergoing a physical exam, something he says wouldn’t have happened if he wasn’t insured. “I remember when I took my physical and they told me I had HIV over 22 years ago,” he says in the video. “If it wasn’t for that quality health care that I had and the plan that I had, I probably would have been dead. You never know when you’re going to need it.”
“I was at the top of my game,” Mourning says in his ad spot. “I felt invincible, but when I went for my regular team physical, it turned out I had serious kidney disease. It was caught in time to treat, and lucky for me, I was insured.”
Mourning’s life was saved after his cousin, retired Marine Jason Cooper, was a match and donated his kidney to Mourning in 2003.
The White House reports that 2.1 million people have signed up for health insurance through the state and federal exchanges, most of whom signed up before the original deadline in December after Healthcare.gov was fully operating.
While the new advertising campaign focuses more on young men, young women will not be left out as health care officials will be visiting college campuses, particularly community colleges, to encourage enrollment. There will also be an intense online market campaign through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The ads are a part of a $52 million campaign and will be available everywhere — digital, TV and radio advertising for the first quarter of 2014. Most will air on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBAtv during NBA games.