“There are plenty of [Obamacare] horror stories being told. All of them are untrue,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not long ago on the floor of the Senate.
Four years after the president signed the measure into law, there are, of course, many real stories of hardship under Obamacare. An extensive list of which is included at the end of this article. But when Reid made those remarks, he wasn’t repeating words carelessly dashed off by some 20-something staffer. Rather, he was repeating a meme that has become common among those who economist Thomas Sowell dubs “the Anointed,” intellectuals whose belief in their own superior knowledge and virtue leads to their misperception that they are an anointed elite more qualified to make decisions for the rest of us in order to lead humanity to a better life.
The Anointed’s “no horror stories” meme arose when leftist pundits found potential holes in the story of Julie Boonstra, a cancer patient featured in ads run by Americans for Prosperity. While Boonstra did lose her policy due to Obamacare, she has kept her physicians and the new policy she found doesn’t yet appear to cost her any more money.
Some on the right sought to blunt the attack by unjustly complaining that the left was attacking cancer patients. But the left was not attacking Boonstra and other cancer patients as much as trying to discern the extent to which Boonstra was a true victim of Obamacare. Investigating the details of such cases is perfectly legitimate.
HORROR STORIES REID SAYS DONT EXIST
Gayle Ayala: Ayala has high blood pressure, high cholesterol and is at high risk for breast cancer. She had to travel three hours to visit a doctor covered under her exchange plan, Nevada Health Co-Op. The only gynecologist she has access to has been fined by three state governments for violating standards of care.
Johanna Benthel: The 17-year-old has had 84 surgeries over her life due to congenital malformations in her brain. Her mother, Eileen, said her family policy was cancelled last year. Last year Johanna was treated in at a clinic at the University of Chicago. Eileen says the new policy they have offers no coverage for going out of New York and they have lost coverage for one of their doctors.
Larry Basich: Basich underwent open-heart surgery in early January. The UnitedHealthCare plan he signed up for on Nevada’s exchange claims they have no record of him and will not cover his surgery. Xerox, a contractor for the Nevada exchange, says Basich signed up with a different insurer. Right now Baisch is liable for $407,000 in costs for his treatment.
Gloria Cantor: Gloria and her husband, Jay, received a letter from their Florida insurance company saying their plan would be cancelled in 2014 because of Obamacare. Gloria is fighting cancer and her physicians could not assure her that they will take her new plan.
Josie Gracchi: Gracchi’s insurance plan rolled over into a new plan that was on the exchange in New York. As a result, the physicians who were treating her for breast cancer were no longer part of her network. A January 3 biopsy and subsequent surgery were delayed as a result.
Lenny Hubbs: Mr. Hubbs had insurance through his wife, Laura. Then, due to the costs of Obamacare, Laura’s employer was unable to maintain coverage for its employees’ spouses. Lenny had no insurance when he ended up in the hospital with a serious case of pneumonia. He and his wife ended up with a $100,000 hospital bill they will have to pay themselves.
Neil Jacobson: Jacobson says it is important that his family has health insurance because his wife and son need regular medical treatment. Despite selecting insurance on the Vermont Obamacare exchange on December 16, subsequently paying three premiums, and spending over 15 hours on the phone with Vermont exchange representatives and Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont, he does not yet officially have insurance. His ten-year-old son, Charles, though, did receive a letter from the exchange saying Charles had requested a change in his insurance.
Danielle Nelson: Nelson, a California resident, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She had to take up a plan on the Covered California exchange with Blue Cross, which assured her that her oncologists were on the plan. But a sign at one of her oncologist’s office states that Covered California plans are not accepted. “I can’t imagine this is how President Obama wanted it to happen,” Nelson said.
Ellie Porter: The six-year-old from Utah is undergoing treatment from kidney cancer. Late last year, her parent’s insurance policy was cancelled. Her parents, Paul and Jami, were worried about whether the new policy they were looking for on the federal exchange would cover the physicians who had been treating Ellie. “Not knowing where she’s going to be in treatment, it’s just the uncertainty of it,” her father said. They were also facing the possibility of buying a plan on the exchange that cost double the rate of their current plan.
Shawna Simpson: Mrs. Simpson’s daughter was injured in a cheerleading accident in January. It was only then that she learned the new ObamaCare exchange policy she was paying $600 per month for didn’t cover any of the physicians she usually takes her family to see. In fact, it doesn’t cover any of the physicians in her county of residence in Tennessee. “We have insurance at this point that is worthless,” she said.
Gary Smith: Smith signed up and paid for insurance on the Nevada Health Link in December, yet never received an insurance card, a rather common glitch on the Nevada exchange. As a result, he couldn’t pay for his diabetes medication after January 1, even though he had met the deadline for coverage.