Obama takes satirical hit to chin to sell health care

March 11, 2014

US President Barack Obama is trying a new strategy in his struggle to sell his stumbling health care law—self parody.

Obama ventured onto the spoof online comedy show "Between Two Ferns" in which host and "Hangover" star Zach Galifianakis grills showbiz luminaries with embarrassing questions.

"What's it like to be the last black president," Galifianakis asked Obama in the show, which debuted on the "Funny or Die" website on Tuesday.

"What's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president," Obama hit back.

Galifianakis, spoofing low budget television interview shows, also jabbed Obama over "ambassador" Dennis Rodman's trips to North Korea and ribbed him over his "home country" of Kenya.

Obama, a slick political performer, had his dead pan delivery down pat, and showed some sharp comic timing—though the show seemed more scripted than previous episodes featuring Hollywood stars like Natalie Portman and Charlize Theron.

For the president, the point of the exercise was to reach a youthful audience since the depends on healthy, young Americans to sign up to subsidize care for the sick and elderly.

"You can get . Most young Americans right now, they are not covered. They can get covered for what it costs to pay their cell phone bill," Obama said.

The Obama administration is in full sales mode on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, ahead of a sign-up deadline on March 31.

The rollout to the plan, the centerpiece of Obama's domestic political legacy, was hampered by a faulty sign-up website.

The administration contends that after a slow start, the number of people signing up is now speeding up and will, as expected, peak in the final days before the deadline.

But Republicans, who want to repeal the law, crow over news of every reverse for Obamacare, and complain that Obama has infringed his powers by delaying several key aspects of the law.

The reform was also hit by Obama's now discredited pledge that if Americans wanted to keep their existing medical plans, they could.

Last week, the administration said that insurers could continue to market plans that do not meet the minimum standards of the new law until October 1, 2016.

Republicans slammed the move as a crass political maneuver to spare Democrats from embarrassment in November's mid-term elections.

According to latest figures through January, more than 3.3 million Americans have signed up for new insurance plans under the reform.

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