Taking Advantage of Cancer Patients for Fun and Profit

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When we last met cancer patient Julie Boonstra, she was the centerpiece of a TV ad claiming that her new insurance plan under Obamacare was far more expensive than her old plan and didn’t cover all her medications. On examination, it turned out to cost about the same. Today, however, the Detroit News reports that, in fact, Obamacare will save Boonstra more than a thousand dollars per year:

Boonstra said Monday her new plan she dislikes is the Blue Cross Premier Gold health care plan, which caps patient responsibility for out-of-pocket costs at $5,100 a year, lower than the federal law’s maximum of $6,350 a year. It means the new plan will save her at least $1,200 compared with her former insurance plan she preferred that was ended under Obamacare’s coverage requirements.

….When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”

“I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.

….She also said her out-of-pocket maximum could be higher than advertised because there’s one prescription that was previously covered by her old plan that isn’t and she now buys with a separate prescription discount card….Boonstra’s health plan covers all prescriptions, [Blue Cross spokesman Andy] Hetzel said, who advises she use the coverage instead of a prescription discount card so co-pays would go toward meeting the out-of-pocket maximum.

If you think I’m posting about this just because it’s a big, fat poke in the face to the Koch-funded ambulance chasers at AFP who originally ran the Boonstra ad—well, you’re right. But there’s a real point to be made about this too. I don’t know anything about Julie Boonstra, but it sure seems as if she’s been bamboozled by a bunch of fanatic Obamacare haters who have caused her a ton of pain and misery. Boonstra had some genuine problems with the rollout of the exchanges, just as many people did, but once that finally got straightened out, she ended up with coverage that was both better and less expensive than her previous plan. There’s no reason for her to be so anxious about her continued care.

But she never really learned that. For purely venal political reasons, AFP found itself a woman fighting cancer and proceeded to stoke her fears of her new health coverage in order to get a TV ad made. A TV ad. These are people who, if there’s any justice, should not be sleeping easily at night. They are swine.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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