In the continued battle against Republican and Koch Brothers’ blitz of health care reform misinformation, Julia Boonstra (the woman who has become conservatives’ poster child for victims of Obamacare) is once again the victim of a group of vicious attackers, more popularly known as… factcheckers.
Congressional Republicans and conservative activists, primarily the billionaire Koch brothers, have used Boonstra’s story as a leukemia patient (a challenging enough illness by itself) to perpetuate what has become a fiction about suffering from health care premiums so high they are now unaffordable, uncovered medications and the loss of her primary doctor all due to Obamacare.
According to Koch Brother’s ads and a recent interview with Ms Boonstra, her premiums have increased over and above her previous $1,100 a month or $13,200 a year, not including her co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, she has stated she will no longer be able to see her own physician.
As it turns out, none of this is true. Today, the Washington Post Factchecker issued an update to this line of claims from just 2 Pinocchios to 3, one rating shy of being labeled an outright lie. According to both a Detroit News report by Marisa Shultz and the Washington Post’s assessment, Ms Boonstra’s new Blue Cross/Blue Shield Gold plan,
“costs $571 a month or $6,852 for the year. Since out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100, including deductibles, the maximum Boonstra would pay this year for all of her cancer treatment is $11,952”.
Her monthly payments are almost cut in half and she will be saving $1248 annually with her new policy under the ACA. And that includes all her co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses, something her previous policy’s $13,200 price tag did not. And those out-of-pocket caps are lower ($5,100) than the ACA’s own cap limits ($6,350). In addition, the Post found that she will not lose her doctor and the medication she claimed would not be covered is, in fact, covered.
A Blue Cross representative, who was contacted for comment, stated, “We are here to help people like Ms. Boonstra to work their way through adjusting to the health plans we are now offering them. If there are questions … they should call.”
When Ms. Boonstra was contacted about these new figures replied with incredulity, saying [It] “can’t be true.” and “I personally do not believe that”. Her initial concerns, those that were brought to national attention in Koch Brother ads, were based on issues she thought would happen under the new law, not what actually did occur.
And herein lies the problem of acceptance and approval of the Affordable Care Act. Campaigns of misinformation, confusion and an ineffective effort to communicate the facts are to blame for these misconceptions. And they have become fact for so many, so much so that when presented with the actual facts and figures of their own personal costs, people still will not believe them.
The only way to overcome this is to spread what has been shown to be true and place it in front of those who are most in need of seeing it. Time to stem the tide of misinformation by inundating the public with the truth. Call your representatives to tell them to stand firm and defend the law against these campaigns to misinform. Contact your local and national news outlets and remind them of their journalistic duties to expose inaccuracies and to provide the public credible information so they (we) can make informed decisions.