Insurance Abuses and Obama’s ‘Faulty Anecdote’
Conservatives are smiling this morning about a Wall Street Journal piece claiming that President Obama, in his health reform speech to Congress last week, included a “faulty anecdote” about a cancer patient who died as a result of his insurance company dropping coverage after he became sick. Obama claimed:
One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it. … That is heart-breaking, it is wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.
That anecdote is false, the Journal claims, because “the efforts of [the patient's] sister and the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan got Mr. Raddatz’s policy reinstated within three weeks of his April 2005 rescission and secured a life-extending stem-cell transplant for him.”
“Mr. Raddatz died this year,” the Journal notes, “nearly four years after the insurance showdown.”
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who heads the Republican Study Committee, is patting himself on the back this morning for having speculated last week that the tale was false. His office issued a statement this morning saying that the incident “reinforces that President Obama lacks a complete understanding of the American health care system, and further does a disservice to Americans by promoting a health care plan with half-baked anecdotes.”
Not to defend Obama for twisting the tale, which he seems to have done, but both the Journal and Price have downplayed the fact that the patient’s insurer did in fact drop his coverage when he became sick, and that it took an act of the Illinois attorney general to get that coverage reinstated. Is that really insignificant? After all, how many patients have the option of soliciting such higher ups to get their insurance back? And why should they have to do so?
We wrote a piece today pointing to a few family members of patients who suffered similar horrors in dealing with the private insurance industry. Do Republicans really want to hang their hats on the defense of an industry that would deny coverage to squeeze a few more dollars to satisfy Wall Street? Seems that they do.