By JENNIFER EPSTEIN |
12/4/13 3:03 PM EST
President Obama urged young supporters of his health care law Wednesday to keep working for the law, even if it's at times difficult and gives them a few gray hairs.
"I hope you haven’t been discouraged by how hard it’s been because stuff that’s worth it is always hard," he told a group of 160 young adults gathered for the White House Youth Summit on the Affordable Care Act. "The Civil Rights movement was hard. Giving women the right to vote, that was hard. Making sure that workers had the right to organize, that was hard."
"You may get a few gray hairs as a consequence, but I think at the end of the day … it’s worth it," he later added, suggesting that the student government officers in the room consider holding events on campus to encourage young people to sign up for insurance and that the bartenders think about hosting a happy hour to spread the word.
"Do whatever it takes to make sure people have the information they need to make the decision that’s right for them" on health insurance, he said.
Speaking to an audience of 18-to-35 year olds, Obama returned multiple times to his now-faded youth. "There was a time when I was a young invincible," he said. "After five years in office, people don't say that anymore."
The passage of the ACA was worth some more gray hairs for him on his head because, "this is a big deal, to quote Joe Biden," he said.
Young Americans are a key constituency that the Obama administration is trying to reach as it promotes the health care law, in part because younger people are generally healthy and place fewer demands on their health insurance than older adults.
But ratings for the president and the health care law and falling among young adults, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll released Wednesday. Obama's approval rating was at 41 percent among the 18-to-29 year-olds surveyed, down 11 percentage points from a year ago. Just 29 percent of those surveyed who are uninsured said they're considering signing up for coverage under the law.