The mystery of the ObamaCare covergirl took yet another strange turn over the weekend, when her smiling face was replaced by a far less intriguing quartet of icons.
The smiling brunette touched off a frenzied hunt, especially after White House officials refused to divulge her name. As frustration with the beleaguered Healthcare.gov website mounted, she became known on the Internet as “Glitch Girl.”
Sometime on Sunday, her visage was replaced by the helpful icons, which show the four ways people can learn about President Obama’s signature health law – by talking on the phone, going to the website (that they are presumably already on), writing a letter or chatting with friends.
For now, the ObamaCare covergirl, whose identity was sought in vain by dozens of media outlets, remains a secret. It’s not clear why the site was stripped of a human face, but it is possible misguided vitriol on the web prompted the move for her own protection – whoever she is. Tweets, digitally-altered copycat sites and blogposts were becoming downright cruel toward a woman who may have simply long ago signed a release that allowed her to become the new face of futility.
"Congrats, vapidly smiling http://Healthcare.gov splash page stock photo girl! You're now the most despised face on planet Earth," tweeted David Burge, of the blog IowaHawk.
Some speculated that the covergirl-gone-underground was never even real, but some sort of Photoshop “everywoman” composite. But Richard Olague, spokesman for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which oversees the new programs under the health care reforms, said she's real.
Girl in stock photo becomes the first victim of the Obamacare death panels http://t.co/cLgH6plewm— Adam Schweigert (@aschweig) October 28, 2013
“The woman featured on the website signed a release for us to use the photo, but to protect her privacy, we will not share her personal or contact info with anyone,” Olague told BuzzFeed in an email.
The website's source code indicates that the image file's name is "Adriana."
Digipile’s Alex Howard saw nothing nefarious in the disappearance of Adriana, saying it could have simply been a clever way to remind would-be enrollees of the four handy ways they could seek information.
“Looks like using most valuable screen real estate to focus people on other ways to apply to me,” he tweeted.