POLITICS

President Obama hears from young professionals on health care

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WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - President Barack Obama had lunch Friday with five young people to call attention to the need for young Americans to enroll for insurance through his health care law.

Obama traveled Friday afternoon to The Coupe, a restaurant in a Washington neighborhood that's popular among young people. He listened as the five advocates described their efforts to spread the word about new health care exchanges.

Obama told the group, which included 94.7 Fresh FM and ABC7 correspondent Tommy McFly, that he was proud of what they were doing. He told the group that his main goal was to better learn how to reach the 20 to 30-year-old age group.

"We just sat, and after everybody ordered drinks, he said, 'What do you know? What are you hearing? What do we need to know?'"

The Obama administration needs millions of Americans, but especially young, healthier people, to enroll in the exchanges to keep prices low for everyone.

More than two million overall signed up in the first half of the 6-month enrollment period, but there's concern that early problems with the website may have discouraged some younger people from enrolling.

Friday proved to be another busy day on the Affordable Care Act front, especially after the administration announced that it had fired the original contractor tasked to build the troubled healthcare.gov portal.

That contractor, CGI Federal, will likely be replaced by Accenture, the Washington Post reports.

In addition, the House of Representatives made moves to alter the privacy portion of the law, voting to impose new security requirements in case a patient's personal data is compromise.

While 67 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the measure, many call it a scare tactic to keep people from logging on and enrolling.

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