The White House Fable Factory
November 6, 2013 - 5:21 AM
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney huffed that stage-four gallbladder cancer survivor Edie Littlefield Sundby's personal account in The Wall Street Journal of seeing her health insurance plan canceled and her access to doctors cut off was "sensational." Not a shred of compassion for her predicament. No sorrow for her loss. Must. Attack. Messenger.
There are millions out there like Sundby who are using Facebook, Twitter, Twitchy.com and a new website called MyCancellation.com to share their plights. White House flacks and hacks are working overtime to "debunk" their experiences, bash insurance companies and deride individual market consumers losing their plans as stupid dupes whose stories don't add up.
Here's the thing. This Alinsky-steeped administration has relied on an endless stream of sensationalized, phony personal dramas to sell Obamacare. Last month, Organizing for Action (previously Obama for America) promoted the "success story" of Chad Henderson, a supposedly random young person who miraculously enrolled in Obamacare while everyone else in America experienced major tech meltdowns and sticker shock.
Turned out Lying Chad was actually an OFA volunteer who hadn't really enrolled in Obamacare yet because he was "joking." No matter. Yesterday, Obama appeared before OFA to solicit even more stories from the group to help propagandize Obamacare. A refresher course on the White House Fable Factory's greatest hits:
—Stanley Ann Dunham. Obama cited his mom's deathbed fight with her insurer several times over the years to support the Obamacare ban on pre-existing condition exclusions by insurers. During a 2008 debate, he shared her plight: "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." But New York Times reporter Janny Scott discovered that 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.
—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 reportedly was 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 the 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. Marcelas' 27-year-old mother, Tiffany Owens, 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 public relations 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.
Phony manufactured tales built Obamacare. Real stories of Obamacare wreckage will bring it down.