The PJ Tatler

Illinois Enlists The Onion to Sell Obamacare

The State of Illinois is often accused of descending into a parody of a state. From its habit of electing governors that later end up in jail, to the morbid violence in its largest city despite that city’s strict gun control laws, Illinois often looks like one gigantic bad joke.


Now it’s working with a purveyor of decent jokes to sell the worst joke of them all.

In a push to enroll more “young invincibles,” the state’s official Affordable Care Act outreach vehicle, Get Covered Illinois, has forged a partnership with satircal news site The Onion to run a series of advertisements and marketing material online.

Under terms of the agreement, the state will pay Chicago-based Onion Inc. $150,000 for $300,000 worth of online banner ads, a video, an editorial and a custom news section that will feature Get Covered Illinois, said Mike Claffey, a Get Covered Illinois spokesman.

The Onion, via its creative agency Onion Labs, will develop and feature the content through March 31, the deadline to enroll in the new health plans offered on online marketplaces created by the law known as Obamacare.

This story isn’t from the Onion, though it sounds like it is: won’t even work across a couple of the last days people can sign themselves up for dependence. will be out of service for two and a half days beginning on Feb. 15 — the last day people can sign up to obtain coverage that begins on March 1.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services announced in a blog post on Monday that the ObamaCare website would be lacking some enrollment functionalities so the Social Security Administration can conduct its annual systems maintenance activities.

The site will be out of order from 3 p.m. on Feb. 15 until 5 a.m. on Tuesday — a period that coincides with the long holiday weekend.

Those seeking coverage by March 1 must have signed up online by Feb. 15, but with the website maintenance, those registering at the last minute won’t be able to find out what plans or subsidies they qualify for.


When he was elected to the presidency in 2008, the Onion satirized with the headline “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.” Now the Onion has taken one of the worst things Obama has done in that job, and made it their mission to sell it.

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