President Barack Obama has generally stayed out of the spotlight since he left office. But earlier today he released a video announcing the start of Obamacare’s enrollment period and encouraging uninsured Americans to shop for coverage.
This is … a bit weird. Healthcare.gov is a government program. Typically, the White House and Health and Human Services would urge Americans to take advantage of federal benefits. Obama isn’t out there, for example, making videos telling seniors to sign up for Medicare benefits. The federal government does that.
But the Trump administration has not taken steps to promote Obamacare enrollment. If anything, the White House has actively discouraged people to sign up for the program they tried to repeal. Trump cut the budget for Obamacare advertising by 90 percent and slashed in-person outreach by 72 percent.
This morning, when Obamacare’s open enrollment period kicked off, President Donald Trump wasn’t tweeting about the ability to enroll. Instead, he was on a riff about repealing the law’s mandate to purchase coverage.
Wouldn't it be great to Repeal the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate in ObamaCare and use those savings for further Tax Cuts.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
....for the Middle Class. The House and Senate should consider ASAP as the process of final approval moves along. Push Biggest Tax Cuts EVER— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
With the Trump administrative still actively working to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Obama administration alumni (including the president himself) have taken things into their own hands. A new group called Get America Covered was founded by the people who used to run the health care law. And it recruited the president to create this PSA.
This isn’t how outreach for government programs usually work — but then again, having an administration actively try to repeal a program it manages isn’t how things usually work, either.