I remember my mother. She was 53 years old when she died of ovarian cancer, and you know what she was thinking about in the last months of her life? She wasn’t thinking about getting well. She wasn't thinking about coming to terms with her own mortality. She had been diagnosed just as she was transitioning between jobs. And she wasn’t sure whether insurance was going to cover the medical expenses because they might consider this a preexisting condition. I remember just being heartbroken, seeing her struggle through the paperwork and the medical bills and the insurance forms. So, I have seen what it's like when somebody you love is suffering because of a broken health care system. And it's wrong. It's not who we are as a people.Barack Obama, October 2008:
BROKAW: Quick discussion. Is health care in America a privilege, a right, or a responsibility? . . .Barack Obama, August 2009:
OBAMA: Well, I think it should be a right for every American. In a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills -- for my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they're saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don't have to pay her treatment, there's something fundamentally wrong about that.
[Health insurance is] also personal for me. I talked about this when I was campaigning up here in New Hampshire. I will never forget my own mother, as she fought cancer in her final months, having to worry about whether her insurance would refuse to pay for her treatment. And by the way, this was because the insurance company was arguing that somehow she should have known that she had cancer when she took her new job -- even though it hadn't been diagnosed yet. So if it could happen to her, it could happen to any one of us.Washington Examiner's Byron York, July 2011:
It was a simple and powerful story, one Obama would tell many more times as president during the national health care debate. But now we're learning the real story of Ann Dunham's health coverage is not quite what her son made it out to be.Michelle Malkin, July 2011:
The news is in "A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother," a generally admiring new biography written by former New York Times reporter Janny Scott. According to the book, Ann Dunham, an anthropologist who spent most of her working life in Indonesia, moved from Jakarta to New York in 1992 to work for a nonprofit called Women's World Banking, which encouraged micro-lending in Third World countries. Unhappy in New York, in 1994 Dunham took a job with an American company called Development Alternatives, which had a contract with the Indonesian State Ministry for the Role of Women. Dunham returned to Jakarta to work, and Scott reports the job provided Dunham with health insurance, a housing allowance, and a car.
At the time she took the job, Dunham was increasingly worried about her health; she was suffering from intense abdominal pains. In November 1994, Dunham went to an Indonesian doctor who diagnosed appendicitis. As Dunham debated whether to leave the country for surgery, she called her boss at Development Alternatives. "You've got health insurance, that's taken care of," the boss told her. "We can cover the airfare."
Dunham decided to stay in Jakarta, where she underwent an appendectomy. But the pain did not go away, and Dunham feared, correctly, that she was terribly ill. In January 1995 she left Indonesia to go home to Honolulu, where she was diagnosed with advanced uterine and ovarian cancer. She began a regime of surgery and chemotherapy.
That is the time during which Obama says his mother battled insurance companies to cover her illness. But Scott, who had access to Dunham's correspondence from the time, reveals that Dunham unquestionably had health coverage. "Ann's compensation for her job in Jakarta had included health insurance, which covered most of the costs of her medical treatment," Scott writes. "Once she was back in Hawaii, the hospital billed her insurance company directly, leaving Ann to pay only the deductible and any uncovered expenses, which, she said, came to several hundred dollars a month."
Scott writes that Dunham, who wanted to be compensated for those costs as well as for her living expenses, "filed a separate claim under her employer's disability insurance policy." It was that claim, with the insurance company CIGNA, that was denied in August 1995 because, CIGNA investigators said, Dunham's condition was known before she was covered by the policy.
Dunham’s health insurer had in fact reimbursed her medical expenses with nary an objection. The actual coverage dispute centered on a separate disability insurance policy.Conclusion: As Bryan Preston says, "If the man will shade the truth about how his own mother died. . ." Obama also lied about his father. Ben Johnson wonders:
Channeling document forger Dan Rather’s "fake, but accurate" defense, a White House spokesman insisted to the Times that the anecdote somehow still "speaks powerfully to the impact of pre-existing condition limits on insurance protection from health care costs" -- even though Dunham’s primary health insurer did everything it was supposed to do and met all its contractual obligations.
No matter. Expanding government control over health care means never having to say you’re sorry for impugning private insurers. . .
The president’s Dunham sham-ecdote is just the latest entry in an ever-expanding catalogue of Obamacare fables:-- Otto Raddatz. In 2009, Obama publicized the plight of this Illinois cancer patient, who supposedly died after he was dropped from his Fortis/Assurant Health insurance plan when his insurer discovered an unreported gallstone the patient hadn’t known about. The truth? He got the treatment he needed in 2005 and lived for nearly four more years.
-- Robin Beaton. Also in 2009, Obama claimed Beaton -- a breast cancer patient -- lost her insurance after "she forgot to declare a case of acne." In fact, she failed to disclose a previous heart condition and did not list her weight accurately, but had her insurance restored anyway after intense public lobbying.
-- John Brodniak. A 23-year-old unemployed Oregon sawmill worker, Brodniak’s health woes were spotlighted by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof as a textbook argument for Obamacare. Brodniak was reportedly diagnosed with cavernous hemangioma, a neurological condition, and was allegedly turned away by emergency room doctors. Kristof called the case "monstrous" and decried opponents of Democrats’ health care proposals as heartless murderers. The truth? Brodniak not only had coverage through Oregon’s Medicaid program, but was also a neurology patient at the prestigious Oregon Health and Science University in Portland (a safety-net institution that accepts all Medicaid patients). Kristof never retracted the legend.
-- Marcelas Owens. An 11-year-old boy from Seattle, Owens took a coveted spot next to the president in March 2010 when Obamacare was signed into law. Owens’ 27-year-old mother, Tiffany, died of pulmonary hypertension. The family said the single mother of three lost her job as a fast-food manager and lost her insurance. She died in 2007 after receiving emergency care and treatment throughout her illness. Progressive groups (for whom Marcelas’ relatives worked) dubbed Marcelas an "insurance abuse survivor." But there wasn’t a shred of evidence that any insurer had "abused" the boy or his mom. Further, Washington State already offered a plethora of existing government assistance programs to laid-off and unemployed workers like Marcelas’ mom. The family and its p.r. agents never explained why she didn’t enroll.
-- Natoma Canfield. The White House made the Ohio cancer patient a poster child for Obamacare in 2010 after she wrote a letter complaining about skyrocketing premiums and the prospect of losing her home. After Obama gave Canfield a shout-out at a health care rally in Strongsville, Ohio, and promised to control costs, officials at the renowned Cleveland Clinic, which is treating her, made clear that they would "not put a lien on her home" and that she was eligible for a wide variety of state aid and private charity care.
This sorry spectacle raises two questions: What is Obama lying about now, and how long will the media be able to cover it up for him?The White House says Obama was out of the loop. Our current President makes Nixon look honest.
(via reader Warren, reader Doug J., New York Times, Politico)