20 celebrities advocating for the Affordable Care Act
Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law, millions of Americans have enrolled in health coverage. However, 27.6 million people across the United States remain uninsured. This means that it’s still crucial to spread the word about the ACA, Open Enrollment (OE) dates and deadlines, and the importance of health coverage.
There are quite a few celebrities that have lent their voices to highlighting the importance of healthcare, and the ACA certainly benefited from those who spoke passionately about the importance of getting covered.
This is why, as we approach OE ‘19, we created a list recognizing 20 celebrities who are using their massive and valuable platforms and positions of influence to actively support and spread the word about the ACA. Check out our list to see who made the cut:
The entertainer, author, and activist Aisha Tyler is a dedicated humanitarian. She serves on the board of Planned Parenthood, is a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, and fundraises for Doctors Without Borders, Futures Without Violence, and the International Rescue Committee. Aisha has supported the ACA since its inception, and has continued to speak passionately about healthcare, particularly women’s health and Planned Parenthood.
Alyssa Milano’s Twitter bio demonstrates that she does not shy away from using the platform to talk politics. But her political activism isn’t limited to social media. She worked to get people signed up for insurance through HealthCare.gov, partnering with Kathleen Sebelius and Bradley Whitford on this mission in October 2017. In a candid letter to Newsweek, Alyssa voiced concern about the confusion she perceived among people who wanted to sign up for healthcare. She wrote that, in order to help, she and her team were making sure people had access to get the facts about the ACA, and were able to sign up for coverage. Earlier this year, in a guest column for Variety, Alyssa wrote that it’s “time to end the partisan politics around health care.” Part of her continued efforts revolve around her duties as a co-chair of the Health Care Voter campaign.
Actress America Ferrera is a longtime activist who uses Twitter to share her views on many issues, including healthcare. She was, from the onset, a vocal proponent of the ACA, and passionately argued against its repeal. After the 2016 Presidential campaign, America proudly spoke at the Women’s March and stands with Planned Parenthood.
Through her nonprofit SmartGirls, co-founded with Meredith Walker, Amy Poehler has been dedicated to helping young people get on the path to success and achieve their dreams. As a humanitarian, she is particularly active in women’s issues, empowering young girls on and offscreen. And as the @smrtgrls Twitter account demonstrates, Amy is vocal about the need for healthcare, and proudly identifies as a “healthcare voter.”
For years, comedian Amy Schumer, has stood in solidarity with Planned Parenthood. Her Dr. Congress sketch hilariously tackles the problem with men making choices about women’s health, while also demonstrating how outlandish it is for men to make decisions that should remain between a woman and her doctor. On social media, Schumer has shared her support for PPFA, reminded her followers about Open Enrollment on the Marketplace, and has even talked about a time when she didn’t have health insurance.
2013, Billy on the Street host Billy Eichner and Olivia Wilde made a great video for Funny or Die where they played a game called “Obamacare or Shut Up!” Olivia is given 90 seconds to determine whether Eichner’s fast-talking factoids are about the ACA, or are just pop-culture references. Since then, Billy has been outspoken about getting covered, and has utilized his public platforms to spread the word.
Debra Messing has said she is a #HealthCareVoter and uses her platform to share her stance on many political hot topics. When the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was announced, Debra and Mark Ruffalo were out front tweeting to certain members of the House of Representatives on Twitter and recognizing some key politicians who voted “no” to the bill. If you want to know what’s happening with healthcare, she’s probably tweeting about it on her feed.
Elizabeth Banks has used her platform to encourage her followers to #GetCovered, and supported the ACA when it was at risk of being repealed. She also supports Planned Parenthood, and has tweeted “#Obamacare means being a woman is not a pre-existing condition.”
George Takei is probably most well known as Mr. Sulu from Star Trek but the actor, director, author, and activist is most recently known for the work he’s doing for Asian-American and LGBT equality. Takei has been in politics since the 70s, first serving as an alternate delegate from California to the Democratic National Convention. He’s continued to work in politics his entire career, and has done several PSAs including LGBT equality and encouraging people to register to vote. He was especially quick to use his platform against the repeal of the ACA and also promoted the ACA to his followers for 2018 coverage.
Earlier this year, Jimmy Kimmel talked about the importance of health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and his overall feelings about healthcare policy. For Jimmy, the issue is deeply personal, as his son Billy was born with a serious heart condition. In his 13-minute monologue he praised the ACA, pointing out that before it was passed, those born with congenital heart issues—like his son—could be turned down for health insurance based on this pre-existing condition. He urged Americans to come together and hold elected officials accountable for their decisions on healthcare, which he said is not a partisan issue. Jimmy has since become a champion for affordable healthcare, especially for children.
John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, are very active on Twitter using the platform to speak directly to their fans. He was part of the Obama Administration’s push for people to #GetCovered and has continued to use the platform in support of the ACA. Last year, John rallied his fans to fight the efforts to replace the ACA, emphasizing the impact it would have on millions. What’s more, John and Chrissy have generated acclaim for using their platforms to be both informative on important issues, while being highly entertaining—definitely a social media win-win.
You might know Kal Penn as an actor, particularly as Kumar of the Harold & Kumar film series but the actor and comedian also served as a civil servant in the Obama administration. He started his political career as an advocate for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and in April 2009, he was offered and accepted a position as an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. In 2010, he was a major part of the Affordable Care Act, helping to staff the bill signing and in 2017, he continued to support the ACA by encouraging his followers to call their representatives and urge them to vote no on the ACA repeal.
As Olivia Pope on political drama series Scandal, Kerry Washington is a force of nature. Luckily for us, in real life she expends the same energy as her onscreen alter ego—but on activism. She has used her platform to share her support for the ACA and for the Women’s March, and has candidly talked about art as activism. To Kerry, “Art curates compassion. Art to [her] breaks down walls and allows us to step into somebody else’s shoes.” She has urged her followers on Twitter to #GetCovered, #StandwithPP, and encourages them to vote because #WhenWeAllVote, we all do better.
Lady Gaga has long been a prominent supporter of the ACA, having urged her millions of followers to #GetCovered. She is renowned for using her platform to spread positivity and support for the LGBT community. Lady Gaga has also been candid about her mental and physical health, and even cut her 2018 tour short because she was suffering from fibromyalgia, a topic she has been open and vocal about. What’s more, in the wake of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s recent suicides, Gaga has shared her mental health struggles, encouraging her followers to speak up and seek help if they are suicidal or undergoing private trauma. After her friend Rick Genest’s suicide she tweeted: “The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring mental health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it. If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other.”
Lena has battled endometriosis for over a decade, and recently shared her decision to have a hysterectomy at 31. In the last year, she has candidly spoke about endometriosis and has always been vocal about her thoughts on healthcare. Lena emphatically communicates her view that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. In June 2017, she wrote an op-ed on the ACA proclaiming “Losing Birth Control Could Mean a Life of Pain.” Following the lead of Colton Dunn, she even created her own Twitter ad to remind her followers to enroll before the deadline.
Mark Ruffalo is an environmentalist and, as the founder of waterdefense.org, is very outspoken about water issues in communities of color. Besides working towards a world where more people have access to clean water, Mark is also a long-time supporter of the ACA. In a 2013 interview with Bill Maher, he compared healthcare to warfare. Mark said, “we don’t blink an eye at the money that we have been spending on perpetual warfare… but when we’re talking about healthcare, which is our people and their well-being, we’re shocked that it should cost us some money.”
Rosario Dawson has always been a politically active actress, using her fame to support numerous causes, including healthcare. She also co-founded Voto Latino in 2004 to empower Latinos to be agents of change. Her nonprofit is very active when it comes to healthcare including their support of CHIP and Planned Parenthood — and Rosario has continuously been a supporter of the ACA over the years.
Sarah Silverman does not shy away from Internet trolling, especially around causes she feels passionate about. She engages with people who aggressively disagree with her, and playfully challenges on topics relating to healthcare. Sarah also spoke out regarding efforts to repeal the ACA, emphasizing that it doesn’t matter what the law is called because ultimately it helps people stay healthier.
Sophia Bush is a longtime activist and proponent of the ACA. She has used her social media presence as a megaphone to reach her followers directly, proving herself remarkably skilled at online activism. Sophia’s viral video about birth control, which explains why it’s not just a contraceptive but is also a basic right for anyone with health coverage, was the perfect showcase for her effectiveness as an activist pushing the ideas she is passionate about.
As the host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah has covered the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare issues that he’s passionate about — you can check out his ACA vs. Obamacare video here. His videos, both entertaining and informative, have received critical acclaim. In 2017, Trevor won the Best Short Form Variety Series award for “The Daily Show’s” web exclusive “Between the Scenes” segment.
All of these celebrities use their platform to stand up for what they believe in, and we encourage you to follow them across social. Also, remember to enroll in coverage during this short Open Enrollment Period, November 1st – December 15th.