California Schools to Train Kids to Sell ObamaCare
The Los Angeles Unified School District will use a state grant to train teens to promote ObamaCare to family members. Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, announced grants of $37 million on May 14 to promote the nationally unpopular law.
LAUSD will receive $990,000. The district listed as a primary outcome for its project, “Teens trained to be messengers to family members.”
Covered California spokeswoman Sarah Soto-Taylor said staff have not questioned this goal.
“We have confidence that the model LA Unified brought to the table will be successful in reaching our target population, which includes family members of students,” she said.
LAUSD will also use tax-paid staff to promote ObamaCare through phone calls to students’ homes, in-class presentations, and meetings with employees eligible for ObamaCare’s taxpayer-covered healthcare, the grant award says.
The district listed adult education students, part-time, and contract employees as its target population. Teens will be trained to be messengers not to those groups, but to their own families, to get more people enrolled in taxpayer-subsidized healthcare.
If the project is successful, Los Angeles families can expect more use of students to push government-preferred messaging.
“Teens are part of a ‘pilot’ program to test whether young people can be trained as messengers to deliver outreach and limited education to family and friends in and around their homes,” said Gayle Pollard-Terry, a LAUSD spokesman, in an email. “Teens will be educating adults that they already know (e.g., family or friends) and not other adults.”
‘Paid in the Rear’
Grant recipients like LAUSD will be held accountable by the state for fulfilling their promised activities for outreach, said Larry Hicks, another LAUSD spokesman.
“At a minimum, grantees will be required to submit to Covered California monthly, quarterly, and annual reports on their activities and progress towards agreed upon outcomes. If project benchmarks are not met, grantees may be required to submit additional ad hoc reports upon Covered California’s request. Grantees will also be required to report any proposed adjustments to their approved outreach and education plan using the information management system… Additionally, field monitors will be assigned to grantees to verify their progress,” Hughes said.
Pollard-Terry said the district is familiar with running grants like this one and federal ones of similar size: “This grant is ‘paid in the rear,’ so the funding will come based on performance. The district front-funds positions and we have the ability to start using existing staff for the most part.”
Loren Heal (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a research programmer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a reporter for The Heartland Institute.