They’re often called “Obama phones” but the program behind them has been in place since 1985. The Lifeline program was enacted to provide a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income customers to, according to the FCC, “ensure all Americans have the opportunities and security phone service brings.” Indeed, getting a job without a reliable phone would be difficult, if not impossible. In 2005, under President Bush, Lifeline discounts were made available for pre-paid wireless service plans. In fact, very few of the eligibility requirements have changed at all under the Obama administration.

The cell phone distribution program began in 2008, except Barack Obama was not actually inaugurated until 2009. Similar to Obamacare, many on the Right have attached the president’s name to the program derisively, while many on the Left welcome the new name as they are proud of the program and want to see their man’s name attached to it. 

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