White House Calling

There was a strong chance he was being scammed. Better than half, at least. A scam made more sense.

Dad called and said he got through. He made it. Where so many others struggled, he got through. It took him about five hours, but dad successfully purchased health insurance via Healthcare.gov. And he was so happy about the whole thing — about having affordable insurance, finally — he did what any sane person would do.

He emailed the White House.

But that wasn’t why he called. I could hear the smile on his face as he beamed,  blurting out the reason for his call: “I just got off the phone with the White House.” 

I was skeptical. I was more than a little worried he was being scammed. But one by one my doubts were relieved.

The country couldn’t get through, but my dad did?

Not exactly — New York State’s health exchange operated independently of the embattled federal one, but it did rely on connectivity to complete parts of the registration.

The White House has an email address?

No, but they do have a contact form on WhiteHouse.gov. Tomato, tomahto.

The White House calls people?

When they’re desperate for a silver lining, they certainly do. They call to ask permission.

And that’s why the White House called — to follow-up with dad and get some more detail. To ask for permission to use the story. To thank him for sending the letter (and for getting insured). Two days later, President Obama told my dad’s story during a speech at Fanueil Hall. And, considering the two have never met, he did an oddly accurate impression.