First lady Michelle Obama is making her biggest mass appeal yet to help the Obama White House explain -- and bolster -- the 6-month-old health care law. On Tuesday, Mrs. Obama will preside over what for her is a very rare conference call -- this one with nurses -- to stress the benefits that became available to consumers last week.
Politics Daily has learned that the White House is gathering about 1,000 nurses to be on the call, put together with the help of the American Nurses Association, a group strongly supporting the health care coverage overhaul. "There is really an interest in talking about the newest provisions that go into effect," an adviser to Mrs. Obama told Politics Daily.
With the November midterm elections approaching, the Michelle Obama conference call, while not overtly political, still could have a political impact by arming surrogates -- the nurses -- to talk about the upsides of the Affordable Care Act with their patients.
Mrs. Obama is not hitting the campaign trail until Oct. 13 in Chicago; she plans to visit seven cities in six states in October for fund-raising events. Unlike President Barack Obama there are no plans, at present, for Mrs. Obama to lead mass rallies or big get-out-the vote drives.
The Obama White House is doing a major rollout to highlight the health care changes that became effective on Sept. 23 as Republicans have been calling for repeal of one of President Obama's signature achievements -- but one accomplished with no GOP votes. Repeal of the health law has also become a battle cry among many Republican-allied Tea Party activists.
Just one example of the Obama outreach: On Monday, the White House official information site on the new law
-- launched a Facebook application
Mrs. Obama is expected to highlight provisions of the new law:
-- Children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.
-- Insurance plans must pay for a variety of preventative services with no out-of-pocket costs: mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and new baby care.
-- Insurance company decisions can be appealed to independent third parties.
-- Patients don't need a primary doctor referral for specialists who are part of a health care plan.
The conference call is a bookend to an event Mrs. Obama hosted in July at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington to preview the law. Mrs. Obama was joined by Dr. Jill Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a small event where they were joined by health care professionals and several people whose lives were turned upside down when their insurance companies denied them coverage when they or their family members were sick.