Lack of fanfare on National Youth Enrollment Day foreshadows problems to come for Obamacare

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, February 15, 2014

The signs that National Youth Enrollment Day were bound to fail must have been on the wall pretty early for Obama and Co. – as his administration all but gave up on promoting the event, once again putting the financial solvency of its signature legislative act in jeopardy.

The administration chose Feb. 15 as National Youth Enrollment Day because it is the last day to enroll in the healthcare exchanges to receive coverage on March 1. It planned on promoting more than 200 events nationwide to entice young Americans in signing up for healthcare, working with groups such as United WayYoung InvinciblesGet Covered America and the American Cancer Society to host the events.

Unfortunately, the administration’s tech team didn’t get the message in time and scheduled routine maintenance on the site starting on – you guessed it – February 15th.

Following the news of the website shutdown, promotion of National Youth Enrollment Day became almost non-existent. Buzzfeed article published Wednesday found that many of the organizations participating in the day’s events were shocked to learn the site would be down this weekend.

“We just found that out,” said Aaron Smith, co-founder of the recruitment group Young Invincibles, told Buzzfeed. “Obviously it’s unfortunate.”

“It’s not ideal,” another Obamacare ally added.

Several of the groups told Buzzfeed that they’ll have paper applications on hand for those who can’t use the website, and will also direct potential enrollees to Navigators during the site outage.

At the time, the administration said that it was still going ahead with National Youth Enrollment Day as planned. But if you look at the government’s Twitter accounts, you’d hardly know the event was in process.

Rather than send out a tweet of his own, Obama’s official account retweeted a message from senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 2.52.01 PM

The official account for Obamacare, @Obamacare, also seems to have forgotten that it was National Youth Enrollment Day as well.

@Obamacare screenshot National Youth Enrollment Day

Same with the official account for the Department of Health and Human Services – despite the fact that its leader, Kathleen Sebelius, participated in a Miami National Youth Enrollment Day event Saturday.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 2.52.10 PM

Positive coverage of National Youth Enrollment Day was sparse elsewhere on Twitter as well. But not the negative coverage…

The administration announced Monday that the employer mandate’s implementation would be pushed back another year to 2015, adding fuel to the idea that the president’s trying to run away from the program and punt its problems to his successor. Perhaps the administration’s decision to tone down its National Youth Enrollment Day coverage is yet another sign that Obama’s become skeptical of the program’s benefits – a welcome one, for once.

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