Former President Barack Obama released a public service announcement Monday reminding Americans that the final day to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act—frequently called “Obamacare”—is Saturday, Dec. 15.
In previous years, Obama has used trendy gimmicks like appearing on the show Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis to get the public’s attention. But this year he said he’s not doing any of that.
“This year I’m giving it to you straight: Sign up for health insurance at HealthCare.gov before the deadline on December 15th. You can do it right now,” Obama says in the video. “And most folks can find coverage for $50 to $100 per month. That’s probably less than your cell phone bill.”
Of course, the video ends with a laugh: Thanks to special effects, Obama is outfitted with sunglasses, and a rainbow appears in the background. Oh well for “no memes.”
Jokes aside, fewer people are signing up for insurance under the ACA this year. CNN reports the average daily sign-ups were down roughly 13% as of mid-November, two weeks into enrollment. Last year, enrollment capped out at 11.8 million people, the New York Times reports, roughly 400,000 less than the year prior.
While the ACA has survived two years under the current Trump administration, it’s been weakened since it was signed into law in 2010. President Trump has eliminated the individual mandate penalty, allowing people to go into 2019 uninsured without any financial hit. He also allowed for “short-term health plans” that don’t provide the same coverage as those under the ACA, but often have lower premiums.
Finally, the Department of Health and Human Services cut the ACA’s advertising budget by 90% last year, meaning fewer people will be reminded of healthcare benefits and sign up deadlines. The HHS argued the spending was unnecessary, as the 2017 budget was upped, but enrollment went down.