The “No Obamacare Horror Stories” Fairy TalePosted: March 24, 2014
For many, suffering under Obamacare is all too real.
For The Federalist David Hogberg writes: “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.
However, the Anointed didn’t merely investigate the details of Boonstra. Instead, they took it a big step further. For example, here isLos Angeles Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik:
Kevin Drum [of Mother Jones magazine] wonders whether there’s a single genuine Obamacare horror story out there, given that virtually every yarn promoted by Republicans or conservatives about people hurt by the Affordable Care Act has deflated like a pricked balloon on the merest examination.
It’s a very good question, inspired by the latest horror story bloomer — the tale of one Julie Boonstra of Michigan, wholesaled by the Koch-founded conservative organization Americans for Prosperity.
Maybe that question should be posed to 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.
As heartbreaking as that sounds, we still need to ask if that is genuine Obamacare horror story. Or perhaps Hiltzik can save us a lot of time by posing it to his colleague, reporter Chad Terhune, who wrote the story for the Los Angeles Times.
Hiltzik and Drum are not the only members of the Anointed to hint that there isn’t a genuine Obamacare horror story. Andrew Sullivan also quotes Drum. Paul Krugman writes that the political right’s new strategy “relies on highlighting examples of the terrible harm Obamacare does. There’s only one problem: they haven’t managed to come up with any real examples.”
One can almost credit Brian Buetler of Salon for acknowledging this: “Given the numbers involved, I’d be pretty surprised if such people didn’t exist.” Unfortunately, Buetler is just being weasily: “But at some point it’s worth asking whether the apparent difficulty conservatives have finding them suggests that maybe the law isn’t wreaking all the devastation they want you to believe it is.” Thus, if there is a plethora of horror stories, Buetler can say he believed it all along. In the meantime, he can leave readers with the implication that Obamacare isn’t causing that many problems….Read more…
Photo Julie Boonstra
- New Obamacare Report Vindicates Cancer Patient Attacked as Liar (bighealthreport.com)
- Sticking up for Julie Boonstra (breitbart.com)
- Christopher: Obamascare Stories Don’t Die, They Multiply (mediaite.com)
- The war on Julie Boonstra (powerlineblog.com)