Last month, the Los Angeles Times‘ business reporter Michael Hiltzik, after debunking one “Kochtopus” Americans For Prosperity “ObamaCare” horror story ad after another, opined Maybe there are no genuine Obamacare horror stories:
Kevin Drum wonders whether there’s a single genuine Obamacare horror story out there, given that virtually every yarn promoted by Republicans or conservatives about people hurt by the Affordable Care Act has deflated like a pricked balloon on the merest examination.
It’s a very good question, inspired by the latest horror story bloomer — the tale of one Julie Boonstra of Michigan, wholesaled by the Koch-founded conservative organization Americans for Prosperity. In a political ad being run by AFP against a Democratic senate candidate in Michigan, Boonstra asserts that “Obamacare” has made her leukemia treatment “unaffordable” and “jeopardized” her health.
But when Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post checked out her story, he found it didn’t hold up. The Affordable Care Act provided her with cheaper coverage than she had before, while allowing her to keep her doctor and maintain her treatment. Kessler didn’t mention it, but Boonstra plainly benefits from another provision of the ACA: the ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions. Patients living in the pre-ACA world of individual health insurance with conditions like leukemia were constantly in danger of losing their coverage and becoming uninsurable. That’s not legal anymore.
Glenn Kessler returns to Julie Boonstra today, and finds Anti-Obamacare ad earns another Pinocchio:
We originally awarded the Boonstra ad Two Pinocchios, pending new information. We are now ready to update the ruling, having given AFP ample time to document its claims.
The problem with the original ad was two-fold. First, Boonstra, a cancer patient, suggested she had lost her “wonderful doctor” when in fact she could keep that doctor in the new plan. Second, her premiums were cut in half, from $1,100 a month to $571, and the savings were slightly more than the out-of-pocket costs permitted under the health care law. So it seemed highly suspicious that the costs were “unaffordable.”
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In an interview with the Dexter Leader responding to our column, Boonstra said: “People are asking me for the numbers and I don’t know those answers — that’s the heartbreak of all of this. It’s the uncertainty of not having those numbers that I have an issue with.”
On March 10, however, the Detroit News reported that Boonstra admitted that she had Premier Gold plan. That has an out-of-pocket cap of $5,100 a year.
In other words, her old plan cost $13,200 a year—before co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses. The new plan is $11,952—including co-pays and out of pocket expenses. That’s a savings of more than $1,200 a year.
Boonstra’s response to this report was that it “can’t be true” because she was worried about high expenses early in the year and because she thought one of her prescription drugs was not covered. A spokesman for Blue Cross told the News that all of her prescriptions are covered and her co-pays on the drugs would help with meeting her out-of-pocket maximum.
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In any case, one cannot claim that a plan is “unaffordable” when over the course of the year it will provide you with substantial savings. Thus we are changing the rating on this ad from Two Pinocchios to Three Pinocchios.
The GOPropaganda machine of the “Kochtopus” Americans for Prosperity does not care that all the fact checkers find their “ObamaCare” scare ads false and misleading. Propaganda works on the Big Lie theory: when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. Keep up the lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.
And it works. Charles Pierce at Esquire laments, The Triumph Of Arrant Bullshit On The Affordable Care Act:
This may be the saddest quote I have ever seen in a newspaper [Detroit News].
When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.” “I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.
Even granting that the administration did a rotten job selling and/or explaining the Affordable Care Act — Get Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick started on that sometime — this quote is immeasurably tragic. It represents a kind of final victory for mean-spirited and uncharitable propaganda over reality, a triumph for misinformation, sabotage, and arrant bullshit in the service of a cruel ideology and faceless oligarchy. It is a measure of the failure of all of our institutions, which definitely includes my own, which allowed charlatans and frauds to hijack too much of the public debate. I pray for this woman’s recovery.
And say a prayer that America is delivered from this “arrant bullshit in the service of a cruel ideology and faceless oligarchy.”