Glenn Kessler looked at the facts behind the latest Americans For Prosperity anti-Obamacare ad (above), which tells the story of Obamacare “victim” Julie Boonstra:
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.
He gives the ad a preliminary rating of two Pinocchios. Kevin Drum asks the obvious question:
[I]f this is the best AFP can do, does that mean that no one is truly being harmed by Obamacare?
Hell, I’m a diehard defender of Obamacare, and even I concede that there ought to be at least hundreds of thousands of people who are truly worse off than they were with their old plans. But if that’s the case, why is it that every single hard luck story like this falls apart under the barest scrutiny? Why can’t AFP find someone whose premiums really have doubled and who really did lose her doctor and who really is having a hard time getting the care she used to get?
Sargent is hardly surprised:
The broader GOP strategy is explicitly all about building a national narrative populated only with wrenching horror stories — people who have lost coverage and seen premiums soar, and, now, desperately ill people who have seen their lives disrupted — thanks to the heavy handed big government recklessness all these Dems stand for. In this narrative, people who have had their lives improved by the law and are now enjoying health coverage for the first time — and the security and peace of mind that accompany it — simply don’t exist, and indeed, Republicans have actively discouraged such stories from coming into being. Meanwhile, many of the horror stories are turning out to be hyped, bogus, or distorted. But they will have huge sums of money behind them. And scrutiny of them will be met with charges of insensitivity to the victims.