Man of the people Barack Obama schmoozed 150 high-dollar Hollywood donors at the Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles last night. Cost of admission? $25,000/plate. A transcript of his remarks is posted on the White House website. He told a new, self-aggrandizing health care tale about his life-saving powers that caught my eye.
READ this and pay attention to the part I’ve bolded:
8:26 P.M. PDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat. First of all, you just heard from the future of the Democratic Party — the great Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro. (Applause.) We’re so proud of him.
There are so many people I could thank tonight, so I’m just going to focus on three individuals. First of all, my unbelievable Southern California co-chairs — John Emerson and Ken Solomon. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) They have been tireless in their efforts. They have been unbelievable.
The other person that I want to acknowledge in particular — because I said this to them privately, I’ve got to say it publicly — Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg have been — (applause) — they have been tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad since my first presidential race, back when a lot of people still couldn’t pronounce my name. (Laughter.) And I will always be grateful to them for just the incredible support that they’ve given. So thank you very much. (Applause.) Thanks, both of you.
Some of you are aware that — well, all of you are aware that Michelle and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary. (Applause.) And the actual anniversary date was not that romantic. (Laughter.) There was some speculation as to whether this had an impact on my performance. (Laughter.) But I did make it up to her on Saturday. We went out to dinner, a date night. And it was a wonderful evening. It was a private room, because people kind of lean over and start listening if we’re in the booth next to them. (Laughter.) And Secret Service gets nervous. (Laughter.)
And we had this wonderful young waiter, and he brought us all our stuff, and he was patient with us as we were dawdling over the menu. And we were milking it for all it was worth because we don’t get out that often. But at the end of the dinner — it was very professional, very unobtrusive — but at the end of the dinner he just said, I wanted to just say how much I appreciate you because you saved my mother’s life — because my mother had a stroke, she wasn’t yet qualifying for Medicare, and because of the Affordable Care Act, we were able to get her coverage that allows her to take her medicines and is keeping her alive.
The restaurant that POTUS and FLOTUS dined at for their anniversary dinner was DC’s Bourbon Steak house in Georgetown.
Will any reporter follow up on this new Obamacare anecdote? Obama disseminated this hearsay story to Hollywood writers, celebs, and producers to bolster his case that the behemoth federal health care law provided coverage that a woman would not have otherwise had.
(And remember: The Obamacare-created health insurance exchange in California is enlisting Hollywood to create story lines pimping Obamacare on TV.)
But is it true? Is it really true that Obama’s waiter’s mother could only obtain medicines as a result of Obamacare?
Prior to its passage, hundreds of private pharmaceutical companies and state programs already existed to provide patient prescription assistance for those not eligible for Medicare. In any case, did the waiter’s mom already have health insurance coverage through other means, as many purported Obamacare beneficiaries have turned out to have upon closer look?
The reality is that this president and his spin doctors have manufactured many high-profile Obamacare fables that simply have not added up. And the lapdog press is guilty of collective dereliction of duty in vetting the tall tales. Here’s just a quick refresher on some of the phony yarns.
Who in the D.C. press corps will do their freaking job?
Is there a health insurance horror story disseminated by the White House and its allies that ever turned out to be true? Obamacare advocates have exercised more artistic license than a convention of Photoshoppers. Now, a prominent sob story shilled by President Obama himself about his own mother is in doubt. It’s high past time to call their bluffs.
The tall-tale-teller-in-chief cited mom Stanley Ann Dunham’s deathbed fight with her insurer several times over the years to support his successful push to ban pre-existing condition exclusions by insurers. In a typical recounting, Obama shared his personalized trauma during a 2008 debate: “For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.”
But there was something fundamentally wrong with Obama’s story. In a recently published biography of Obama’s mother, author and New York Times reporter Janny Scott discovered that Dunham’s health insurer had in fact reimbursed her medical expenses with nary an objection. The actual coverage dispute centered on a separate disability insurance policy.
Channeling document forger Dan Rather’s “fake, but accurate” defense, a White House spokesman insisted to the Times that the anecdote somehow still “speaks powerfully to the impact of pre-existing condition limits on insurance protection from health care costs” — even though Dunham’s primary health insurer did everything it was supposed to do and met all its contractual obligations.
No matter. Expanding government control over health care means never having to say you’re sorry for impugning private insurers. Democrats have dragged every available human shield into the contentious debate over Obama’s federal takeover of health care. Personal anecdotes of dying family members battling evil insurance execs deflect attention from the cost, constitutionality and liberty-curtailing consequences of the law. The president’s Dunham sham-ecdote is just the latest entry in an ever-expanding catalogue of Obamacare fables:
— Otto Raddatz. In 2009, Obama publicized the plight of this Illinois cancer patient, who supposedly died after he was dropped from his Fortis/Assurant Health insurance plan when his insurer discovered an unreported gallstone the patient hadn’t known about. The truth? He got the treatment he needed in 2005 and lived for nearly four more years.
— Robin Beaton. Also in 2009, Obama claimed Beaton — a breast cancer patient — lost her insurance after “she forgot to declare a case of acne.” In fact, she failed to disclose a previous heart condition and did not list her weight accurately, but had her insurance restored anyway after intense public lobbying.
— John Brodniak. A 23-year-old unemployed Oregon sawmill worker, Brodniak’s health woes were spotlighted by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof as a textbook argument for Obamacare. Brodniak was reportedly diagnosed with cavernous hemangioma, a neurological condition, and was allegedly turned away by emergency room doctors. Kristof called the case “monstrous” and decried opponents of Democrats’ health care proposals as heartless murderers. The truth? Brodniak not only had coverage through Oregon’s Medicaid program, but was also a neurology patient at the prestigious Oregon Health and Science University in Portland (a safety-net institution that accepts all Medicaid patients). Kristof never retracted the legend.
— Marcelas Owens. An 11-year-old boy from Seattle, Owens took a coveted spot next to the president in March 2010 when Obamacare was signed into law. Owens’ 27-year-old mother, Tiffany, died of pulmonary hypertension. The family said the single mother of three lost her job as a fast-food manager and lost her insurance. She died in 2007 after receiving emergency care and treatment throughout her illness. Progressive groups (for whom Marcelas’ relatives worked) dubbed Marcelas an “insurance abuse survivor.” But there wasn’t a shred of evidence that any insurer had “abused” the boy or his mom. Further, Washington State already offered a plethora of existing government assistance programs to laid-off and unemployed workers like Marcelas’ mom. The family and its p.r. agents never explained why she didn’t enroll.
— Natoma Canfield. The White House made the Ohio cancer patient a poster child for Obamacare in 2010 after she wrote a letter complaining about skyrocketing premiums and the prospect of losing her home. After Obama gave Canfield a shout-out at a health care rally in Strongsville, Ohio, and promised to control costs, officials at the renowned Cleveland Clinic, which is treating her, made clear that they would “not put a lien on her home” and that she was eligible for a wide variety of state aid and private charity care.
Since Obamacare passed, the amount workers pay in health care premiums has soared an average of nearly 14 percent; thousands of businesses have sought waivers in search of relief from the law’s onerous mandates; medical device makers have slashed jobs and research; and the private individual health insurance market is in critical condition.
Post-Obamacare truth is bloodier than pro-Obamacare fiction.
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