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The federal government has enlisted the help of Will Ferrell and friends to instruct consumers on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
Lawmakers are locked in a battle over the ACA, better known by its nickname, Obamacare, that could result in a government shutdown unless House and Senate members can agree whether or not to fund the new law and, if so, when.
Meanwhile, the government has called on the services of Funny or Die, a company co-founded and partially owned by Ferrell, to create and distribute a video that portrays the ACA in a positive and humorous way.
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The Funny or Die video that hit the Internet Monday stars Jennifer Hudson as a “scandal manager,” though all of her cases have already been cured by various sections of the ACA. The video is a spoof of the ABC show Scandal.
The Funny or Die video refers viewers to www.healthcare.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
While Funny or Die often charges a fee to create videos for clients, a spokeswoman said Monday that the company made the government’s ACA video for free.
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In fact, several entertainment-industry people met with the White House in July to discuss ways they could help President Barack Obama pitch the ACA to the American people. One of them was Hudson and another was Mike Farah, president of production at Funny or Die. Obama made an appearance at the meeting, which was also attended by Amy Poehler, Oprah Winfrey and Alicia Keys.
Funny or Die shot the video last month in New York.
“We’ve always had friends in D.C. because of our political videos, so they invited us to meetings about things they need help on,” Farah told The Hollywood Reporter. “We didn’t realize how much help they needed promoting the Affordable Care Act.”
Farah said Funny or Die had no interest in charging the federal government to promote the ACA because it is something he and the rest of the staffers “believe in.”
“This is a law that’s been passed that helps out our young audience,” Farah said. “Anything that brings about change is controversial at the beginning, but it won’t be long before people realize it’s a good thing. It has already worked in states. That’s why Republicans want to stop it so much, because they know it’s going to work. … It’s quite transparent why they’re trying to stop it. They’re not trying to help people, they’re trying to stop momentum.”
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