Bradley Whitford embraces ObamaCare outreach after Trump cuts
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For seven seasons on NBC's "The West Wing," Bradley Whitford played the hard-charging political aide Josh Lyman, deputy chief of staff for a fictional White House. 

Now, Whitford is trying to rally people in the real world to sign up for health insurance under ObamaCare.

The actor is partnering with a group founded by former Obama administration officials called Get America Covered, which is seeking to step in after sharp outreach cutbacks from the Trump administration and get the word out about signing up for coverage. 

Whitford says he will be posting to social media, doing interviews and creating videos (perhaps, he says, with other "The West Wing" cast members) to encourage people to sign up in the enrollment period that runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. 


Whitford told The Hill that President Trump's move earlier this year to cut the ObamaCare outreach and advertising budget by 90 percent spurred him to act. 

"A couple months ago, when it was announced that he was cutting the budget that lets people know about open enrollment, it just upset me and it struck me as a particularly effective arena for celebrity lubrication," Whitford said. 

He emailed Jon Favreau, the former Obama speechwriter and "Pod Save America" host, whom he had met at an event, and asked how he could help. Favreau connected him with Andy Slavitt, a former Obama administration health official now involved in efforts to protect the Affordable Care Act, who told him about the Get America Covered group. 

"I understand the discomfort with what some people perceive to be perhaps an uninformed celebrity pontificating," Whitford said. "But, you know, we have a profoundly uninformed celebrity as president of the United States, so if you voted for him, you can’t say that."

Trump's outreach cuts — as well as his move to halt key payments to insurers — have Democrats accusing the White House of attempting to sabotage the health law. Get America Covered is one of several groups trying to fill in the outreach gap.

Having played Lyman, a top aide in the Democratic administration of Martin Sheen's President Jed Bartlet, hasn't opened up any secret political insights, Whitford says. But the experience did match up with his political views.

"I was very lucky playing Josh Lyman because in terms of my political point of view I didn’t have to act at all," Whitford said. "That was me. That was the pragmatic one in the administration who didn’t live, from his point of view, in a sort of fairy tale."

"One thing I loved about him was his pragmatism," Whitford added. "People who don’t have health insurance don’t have the luxury to stand on principle."