Obama’s Obamacare Symbolism Hits Target: Couldn’t Use Website

Obama decided to “show support” for the Affordable Care Act by signing up for it himself. Of course, he didn’t actually have to sign up himself; other people did that for him while he went on vacation in Hawaii.

So far, the symbolism doesn’t strike me as all that accurate. Most Americans could not be enrolled in Obamacare by other people while they went on vacation. But one thing was very appropriate: the president found the website to be unusable!

Here’s how the local Washington DC CBS station reported it:

He won’t use it, and he didn’t actually sign up for it himself, but President Barack Obama has enrolled for health coverage through the new insurance exchanges.

Announcing his enrollment Monday, the White House called it a symbolic show of Obama’s support for the fledgling exchanges where millions of Americans must buy insurance or face a penalty. Ironically, it also served as a reminder of just how complex and sometimes daunting the process can be.

Obama, like so many other Americans, couldn’t use the website.

“The complicated nature of the president’s case required an in-person sign-up,” the White House said.

White House officials noted that for security reasons, the president’s personal information is not readily available in government databases that the exchanges use to verify identities and check eligibility for tax subsidies.

But millions of other Americans have faced website glitches that made signing up through the exchanges difficult or impossible, particularly in the initial weeks before massive fixes to the site were put in place.

Unable to offer a camera-friendly photo-op of the president breezing through an improved HealthCare.gov, the White House quietly announced on Monday that, sometime over the weekend, aides had enrolled Obama through an in-person enrollment site while the president was vacationing in Hawaii.

“The president enrolled in a health care plan made available by the Affordable Care Act on the D.C. marketplace,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in an email.

As commander in chief, the president receives his health care through the military, so his new coverage will go unused. Rather, the move fulfills a commitment to personally participate that Obama made in 2010, when he signed into law the Affordable Care Act requiring millions of uninsured Americans to buy insurance or face a penalty.

Of course, it is not just that President Obama won’t “use” the coverage that he enrolled in. He purchased the cheapest plan possible. Because he has that military coverage, the President will also never have to pay all the deductibles that a bronze plan would require.

Also, the president stopped the symbolism with himself; he didn’t purchase redundant insurance for his wife and daughters. Most husbands won’t be willing to do the same.

All of this certainly comports with a man who is vacillating between escapism (vacations) and panic (stupid attempts at half-hearted propaganda) because he knows his legacy is doomed.

We can hope.