Dem Rep threatens TV stations showing anti-Obamacare ad
Democrat Rep. Gary Peters is running for the Senate in Michigan and he doesn't like a political ad from Americans for Prosperity being shown on TV stations there. His attorneys at Perkins Coie have sent a letter to local television stations implying their licenses could be in jeopardy if they continue playing the ad.
"For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should immediately require AFP to provide the factual documentation for its claims if you are going to continue airing this advertising...."
The ad (below) highlights the story of Julie Boonstra, who lost her existing health insurance plan thanks to Obamacare, and who says in the ad that her situation has gotten much worse thanks to the legislation Rep. Peters voted for and is defending.
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post took issue with some aspects of the ad, awarding it two Pinnochios:
First of all, many viewers might think Boonstra lost her doctor, as she mentions her "wonderful doctor" and then says her plan was canceled. But AFP confirms that she was able to find a plan, via Blue Cross Blue Shield, that had her doctor in its network. (snip)
At that news conference, Boonstra said, "I'm paying a higher cost now as far as out of pocket costs and the coverage is just not the same." But in the new ad she says "the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it's unaffordable."
The claim that the costs are now "unaffordable" appeared odd because, under Obamacare, there is an out-of-pocket maximum of $6,350 for an individual plan, after which the insurance plan pays 100 percent of covered benefits. The Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Michigan that appear to match Boonstra's plan, as described in local news reports, all have that limit.
Meanwhile, Boonstra told the Detroit News that her monthly premiums were cut in half, from $1,100 a month to $571. That's a savings of $529 a month. Over the course of a year, the premium savings amounts to $6,348-just two dollars shy of the out-of-pocket maximum.
We were unable to reach Boonstra, but on the fact of it, the premium savings appear to match whatever out-of-pocket costs she now faces.
Boonstra tells her local newspaper, the Dexter Leader:
Boonstra said that not even she's sure of what the math comes to, as she's currently less than two months into her new plan.
"I honestly don't know what those numbers are going to amount to; for instance, I've went in to have a prescription filled, thinking well it's never been a big deal ... I never gave it a thought," she explained. "And now it's no longer covered. So 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, because I always knew what I was paying and now I don't, and I haven't gone through the tests or seen my specialist yet."
She also said that she would like to be transparent.
"I truly would love to show the public my numbers, but like I said I just don't have that because I haven't had those visits," Boonstra said. "People don't have that certainty -- they don't have the stability of knowing every month what they're going to be paying now and it's the ability to actually have that sum of money to pay. People don't have these out of pocket expense moneys. "
Boonstra said that, costs aside, she was still concerned about the delay while transitioning from plans during the ACA going into effect. In the previous Dexter Leader report she stated that she faced a period of not being covered and going without the medications that are necessary to her survival due to technical issues with the ACA website and delays in reaching an ACA representative over the phone.
A few points are clear already, though much else remains to be seen:
1. Peters and other Democrats are terrified of being held responsible for health insurance troubles, so much so that they seek to stifle free speech on the subject.
2. Boonstra and other sick people are far more sympathetic figures than politicians defending Obamacare.
3. Whatever the math turns out to be for Boonstra's case, she has suffered serious disruption and uncertainty thanks to Obamacare's passage.
4. There are going to be winners and losers in Obamacare, what with reduced availability of doctors and hospitals as a cost saving measure in many of the less expensive plans. The losers are going to be very sympathetic figures (see points one and two).