It’s been a tumultuous road for the Obama Administration in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But there has been progress, and with the deadline being extended one extra day for coverage beginning on Jan. 1, the president made a symbolic move over the weekend by signing himself up for health coverage in Washington D.C.’s exchange.
While on vacation in Hawaii over the weekend, the president had a member of his staff go to the D.C. exchange where they signed him up for a bronze plan — consisting of lower premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs — in order to promote the ACA. “Like some Americans, the complicated nature of the president’s case required an in-person sign-up,” a White House official said, according to The Washington Post. “As you’d expect, the president’s personal information is not readily available in the variety of government databases HealthCare.gov uses to verify identities.”
The move is seen as symbolic because the president and his family already have health care readily available from the White House Medical Unit and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., NBC reported. The bronze plan will cost Obama $400 a month in premiums, and will not include the rest of his family. Although it’s the cheapest plan, the reason the cost is so high is because Obama won’t receive subsidies, both because his salary is high, at $400,000 annually, and because he is already covered. “But he was pleased to participate in a plan as a show of support for these marketplaces, which are providing quality, affordable health care options to more than a million people,” the official said, according to NBC.
Obama’s enrollment comes amid several months of delays — the original deadline was Dec. 15 — and malfunctions with the HealthCare.gov website, which have led to less-than-expected amounts of people signing up for health insurance. According to The Verge, about a million people have signed up for health care through both the state and federal exchanges — far less than the 3.3 million it had expected.
Obama also could have felt Republican pressure to enroll, because they have been calling for him to sign up for weeks. “I’m glad he did it,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told The Post. “I’m not going to take a cheap shot at him for signing up. It really wasn’t necessary, but if he didn’t do it we would all bark on him.”