Obama pushes Obamacare enrollment as deadline looms

Hoping to push more people to sign up for Obamacare amid lagging enrollment, former President Barack Obama u...

Posted: Dec 11, 2018 5:47 AM
Updated: Dec 11, 2018 5:47 AM

Hoping to push more people to sign up for Obamacare amid lagging enrollment, former President Barack Obama urged Americans Monday to check out healthcare.gov before the December 15 deadline.

Obama posted a nearly 90-second video to his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts reminding folks to get coverage. The playful message was aimed at young people, in particular.

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"I think you've proven that you don't need to see me taking jump shorts or sitting between a couple of forest plants to know it's important to have health insurance in case, God forbid, you get really sick or hurt yourself next year," Obama said, referencing his previous efforts to encourage enrollment while he was in office, including a 2014 interview on comic Zach Galifianakis' "Between Two Ferns" show.

The Facebook video garnered more than 700,000 views and the Twitter post had more than 55,000 retweets in three hours.

Last year, Obama kicked off the open enrollment period with an 80-second video on social media praising many of Obamacare's benefits. Then, a few days before open enrollment ended, he reminded Americans of the deadline on social media and joined a conference call to thank several hundred people who were helping consumers select plans.

This year, the former President noted the November 1 launch of open enrollment on his social media accounts, but amid a flurry of posts urging people to vote in the midterm elections to protect the law and those with pre-existing conditions.

The renewed push by the former President follows weeks of weak enrollment reports for Obamacare plans. The average number of people signing up daily on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, is down roughly 8% as of December 1, compared to the same time a year ago, according to figures released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The days just ahead of the deadline, which is December 15 in most states, are the most crucial as Americans typically wait until the last minute to sign up. But the Trump administration has slashed the budget for Obamacare advertising by 90%.

Only a quarter of those who buy their own insurance or are uninsured know when open enrollment ends, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

In the new video, Obama lauded young Americans for stepping up "like never before, on campuses, at the voting booth and at the doors of power." During the midterm elections, he urged voters to support Democratic candidates because they would better preserve protections for people with pre-existing conditions and other popular parts of the health reform law.

The new post includes one of Obama's favorite marketing points -- that most consumers can find policies for between $50 and $100 a month, less than many people pay for their cell phones.

Always willing to make fun of himself when it comes to his signature health reform law, Obama ended the video with a filter showing him wearing sunglasses and standing before a picturesque scene of mountains, trees, the ocean and a rainbow.

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