Some conservative political groups have run into trouble making ads that criticize Obamacare. The ads were intended to showcase “horror stories” from the Democrats’ national health care overhaul, but instead attracted zealous fact-checking and ferocious pushback from media outlets and liberal activists.
The most striking example is a recent ad from Americans for Prosperity, the organization backed by Charles and David Koch, the conservative businessmen-philanthropists who have emerged as this year’s Target No. 1 for Democrats. The ad featured a Michigan woman, Julie Boonstra, who said she had been diagnosed with leukemia and given a 20 percent chance of surviving, but had fortunately found a “wonderful doctor and a great health care plan.”
At least, before Obamacare. “I was doing fairly well fighting the cancer,” Boonstra said in the ad, “fighting the leukemia, and then I received the letter. My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare. Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die. I believed the president. I believed I could keep my health insurance plan. I feel lied to. It’s heartbreaking for me.” The ad ended with Boonstra accusing Michigan Democratic Rep. Gary Peters of jeopardizing her health by voting for the Affordable Care Act.
After the commercial aired, fact-checkers noted that under a new policy available to her through Obamacare, Boonstra would actually have lower premiums. Even with higher deductibles, it all pretty much evened out, or even saved Boonstra some money in the end.
Boonstra countered that out-of-pocket costs — her original complaint — can be incurred quite quickly if she were to need a lot of care, imposing at least a temporary burden she didn’t have before Obamacare. And in any event, one cannot expect a patient fighting a terrifying disease to be happy about being thrown into a new system that upends the care structure she has built.