The White House tried to get primetime air for President Obama to celebrate Obamacare enrollment figures, only to be denied by several television networks.
White House officials wanted to announce that Obamacare had met its minimum threshold of success with a victory lap akin to Obama’s late-night announcement in 2011 when U.S. Special Forces killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, BuzzFeed reports.
Three sources familiar with the request told BuzzFeed that the White House had requested the primetime slot in order to push the idea of the health-care law’s success while it continues to languish in the polls. (RELATED: Just before deadline, Obamacare reaches lowest approval rating ever)
It’s not clear which networks refused the request, but no speech was shown on any of the major broadcast television networks. Typically, the State of the Union is the only presidential speech awarded network television’s primetime spot, although special addresses sometimes make the cut.
The White House has not commented on the report.
After being written off by the networks, the president settled for a Rose Garden address instead.
“The debate over repealing this law is over,” Obama proclaimed in the speech, “The Affordable are Act is here to stay.”
“Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?” the president asked. “In the end, history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security. “Nobody remembers well those who stand in the way of America’s progress or our people.”
Insurance industry analysts have estimated that fewer than one-third of those who selected health plans on the exchanges were previously uninsured; this group is also over 30 percent less likely to end up paying their first premiums than those who already had health insurance before signing up for Obamacare.
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