If Trump won't, Obama still will
Obamacare enrollment deadline Saturday; former president offers much-needed reminder
By Ted Cox
If President Trump won’t remind U.S. citizens to sign up for Obamacare, the health plan’s namesake will.
With the Trump administration cutting funds to promote Obamacare in yet another attempt to sabotage President Barack Obama’s signature initiative, Obama himself reminded people this week that the deadline is Saturday, Dec. 15, to sign up for health care for next year.
Obama posted a playful video on social media this week making a plain plea for those without health insurance to sign up for plans under what’s more conventionally known as the Affordable Care Act.
The video finds him making fun of attempts in previous years to promote the health plan while he was in office — including clips of him shooting baskets and making an appearance on the internet talk show “Between Two Ferns With Zach Galafianakis.”
The video ends, however, with dark sunglasses being superimposed on Obama with a filter — a popular internet meme meaning, “Deal with it.”
But for many Americans it’s anything but a laughing matter, that they definitely need to deal with. The Trump administration has slashed funding to promote the annual signup period for Obamacare, and passed a tax bill through Congress a year ago removing the so-called individual mandate forcing citizens to enroll in health care or face a tax surcharge penalty.
The State Journal-Register reported Thursday that, as of last Saturday, with a week to go in the enrollment period, Illinois Obamacare enrollment was down 20 percent from the same point in open enrollment a year ago. Reporter Dean Olsen found that Illinois enrollment was at 134,000, down from 169,000 a year ago one week before the deadline.
Olsen added that outpaced a 13 percent drop nationally in the 39 states, like Illinois, that use the healthcare.gov site to sign up for Obamacare.
Olsen quoted Stephani Becker of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Chicago as saying, “The federal administration’s sabotage of the ACA is clearly playing out right now.”
The six-week Obamacare enrollment period opened Nov. 1. Illinoisans can go through the Get Covered Illinois state website, but that will eventually send those interested to healthcare.gov to choose a plan.
The enrollment-period deadline is midnight Saturday. Deal with it.