"The law would not be judged a success if the exchanges fail," said Drew Altman, president and chief executive of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a private, non-profit health care research organization.
According to Altman, success will require the government to make sure the exchanges are up and running on time, that early glitches are few and relatively minor, and that people can enroll at an affordable price.
"The biggest thing of all will be that when the exchanges are up and running, people who enroll in the exchanges view the premiums as not only affordable but the insurance they get is a good deal, is a good value," he said. "That's the real test."
To pass this test, the administration figures roughly 40% of exchange consumers -- 2.7 million if the CBO's estimates are correct -- need to be between the ages of 18 and 35.
Younger and healthier premium pools will keep overall costs lower and ease the financial hit to the program when it does pay benefits.
Through publicly available data, administration officials believe they have a pretty good idea of the target audience.
In the administration's calculus, the population of younger, uninsured Americans skews slightly more toward African American and Hispanic males living in urban areas. A third of that population lives in California, Florida or Texas, and the administration believes many will qualify for government subsidies to purchase insurance.
To reach the desired audience, officials are getting their message to places where young Americans already go for information. That means launching social media campaigns and doing interviews with magazines like Cosmopolitan, whose readership skews toward the target age bracket.
It also means encouraging friends, family and community groups to act as "validators," or trusted conveyors of the administration's message. And it means forging partnerships with artists and celebrities who have credibility with younger audiences.
This week, Obama joined a meeting at the White House with a star-studded group of volunteers who are interested in helping promote Obamacare.
'Funny or Die' involved
Attendees included singer Jennifer Hudson, actors Kal Penn and Amy Poehler, and representatives for Oprah Winfrey, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, YouTube Comedy, Funny or Die and the organizations that put on the annual Grammy and Latin Grammy awards.
Funny or Die president of production Mike Farah said the president's message about health care reform resonated with everyone in the room.
"There were obviously some really accomplished people in the room, but they all started out as struggling artists," said Farah, adding most people there had a story about being uninsured.
Funny or Die makes 25 or 30 original videos a month, and its audience consists mostly of younger viewers.
The White House hopes by incorporating the message of enrollment into videos it already makes, Funny or Die can help make the message go viral.
The administration is aided in its efforts by an array of independent groups.
The president's former campaign organization, now called Organizing for Action, is spending upwards of seven figures over the course of the summer for commercial time on cable stations to help educating people about the health care law.
The ads promote success stories about how the law impacts average Americans. By placing them on channels like Bravo, the group can target mothers who have outsized influence on their children's decision to purchase insurance.
Enroll America, a nonpartisan group focused solely on maximizing enrollment under the health care law, already has staff in 10 states where uninsured populations are highest.
With an advisory board that includes representatives from across the health care spectrum as well as consumer groups, community organizations, and charities, Enroll America will have more than 200 employees by October 1 working on a campaign geared toward connecting those seeking insurance with a plan available on their state marketplace.
Local effort in states
In states that chose to run their own exchanges, the effort is much more local.
Kentucky will be doing outreach for its exchanges at bourbon festivals in the fall, while California has partnered with Spanish-language television outlets to reach its state's uninsured youth, nearly half of whom are Hispanic.
A senior administration official said the effort is targeted and strategic.