The Koch Brothers SuperPAC, Americans for Prosperity, is currently running an ad in Michigan targeting Democratic Senator Gary Peters, who is up for reelection in November. The commercial, titled ‘Julie’s Story: It’s Time To Listen’, states that a cancer patient named Julie Boonstra is being bankrupted by the Affordable Care Act. She discusses how her original plan was cancelled and now her out-of-pocket expenses are so high she finds them totally unaffordable.
When you see that ad, you’d think that Obamacare is killing Ms. Boonstra! It seems like she is dealing with a real-life horror movie where bureaucratic nonsense and an uncaring law has made her life expendable. Of course, pesky facts always get in the way of a good narrative. The truth is that Julie Boonstra did have her existing insurance policy cancelled because it didn’t meet the minimum standards of the ACA. Instead, she had to get a better policy at half the price. She was paying $1,100 a month in premiums under her old policy. She now pays $571 a month.
If she is paying less a month, how can she justify that Obamacare is bankrupting her? Well, she says it is because she now faces out of pocket expenses more often. She states that for a lot of her treatments, she is forced to do a 20% co-pay. However, under the law, there is a cap on how much she can be charged out of pocket. The cap is $6,350 a year. By her own admission, she is saving nearly that exact amount in premiums due to the ACA. So, even if she has to pay the maximum amount in out of pocket expenses a year under the new plan (doubtful), she isn’t paying anymore than she did under her old plan.
Basically, this is as dishonest as you can get with a political ad. Ms. Boonstra, at worst, is having to deal with smaller expenses on a more frequent basis, but is not spending anymore than she did previously. In fact, it is more than likely she’ll still end up spending less than before. On top of that, her old policy, that was twice as expensive, only got cancelled because it didn’t offer as extensive of coverage as it should have. She now has a better policy for half the price and she cannot be kicked off of it due to her condition.
Kessler gave the ad two Pinocchios. Personally, I think it is one of the biggest lies we’ve ever seen in politics, and that is saying something. It just goes to show how good this law really is when lobbyists and politicians have to stoop to telling outright lies in their attempts to discredit it.