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Black southern churches play major role in pushing Obamacare

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With a pending deadline of March 31 just weeks ahead; churches, community groups, and civil rights organizations particularly in the south, are scrambling to get people signed up for health care plans.

Enroll America, a nonprofit organization seeking to help people gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act have met with key officials from churches and other organizations to help get the word out.

“Churches have been a great convening point,’’ says Amanda Ptashkin, an Atlanta-based health insurance “navigator’’ who helps sign people up for coverage. “The faith community has asked for navigators’’ to help out at the enrollment events, she adds.

The African American community has been especially encouraged to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.

"When you read the statistics about health, the health picture of black Americans is most dire,'' said Cooper, head of Organizing for Action in northeast Louisiana, a nonprofit group that advocates for President Obama's agenda. "There is an extra effort ... to help many more to enroll."

Buying ad time in media markets with a large black viewership and even broadcasting their messages through Facebook and Twitter, federal officials have been targeting minorities to enroll for health care under the Affordable Care Act .

"With just over a month of open enrollment left, our top priority is reaching every American who needs access to quality, affordable insurance to help them sign up,'' said Valerie Jarrett, a White House senior adviser, in a teleconference with black mayors. "We still have hard work left to do.''

The first lady sat down with Robin Roberts this week in Miami at the BET Network's 5th Annual Leading Women Defined Summit, where she discussed lowering childhood obesity but also touched on the importance of the health care plan.

"Because of the Affordable Care Act, people now have an option, affordability," Obama said. "The accessibility of it will allow the average American to get an insurance plan for less than $100 a month. That's the cost of a cellphone bill, a decent pair of sneakers."

President Obama participated in a town hall this morning at the Newseum, in an effort to encourage Latinos to enroll in ObamaCare.

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