As we continue with the President’s speech to the Joint Session of Congress, I want to pause at the 32nd paragraph and go back to the 10th paragraph for a moment.
It was in that paragraph where the President reflected on two personal accounts. You know, the stories of the “victims of healthcare in America”.
One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it. Another woman from Texas was about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne. By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer had more than doubled in size. That is heart-breaking, it is wrong, and no one should be treated that way in the United States of America.
When I started this series of posts, I intended to simply point out all the places where the President contradicted the text in H.R. 3200, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009“, but it turns out he couldn’t even be completely upfront with us when it came to “real life” accounts.
Scott Harrington, from the Wall Street Journal, did some fact checking for us.
It turns out that the “man from Illinois” who “lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy” and “died from it”, actually had his insurance policy reinstated, received a prescribed stem-cell transplant within the recommended time frame, and lived an additional three and a half years because of it. Whoops.
Although the president has used this example previously, his conclusion is contradicted by the transcript of a June 16 hearing on industry practices before the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigation of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The deceased’s sister testified that the insurer reinstated her brother’s coverage following intervention by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. She testified that her brother received a prescribed stem-cell transplant within the desired three- to four-week “window of opportunity” from “one of the most renowned doctors in the whole world on the specific routine,” that the procedure “was extremely successful,” and that “it extended his life nearly three and a half years.”
So, what about that woman who had her insurance dropped just before a double mastectomy because she forgot to declare a case of acne? While her surgery was indeed delayed for several months, her medical chart indicated her condition was “precancerous” at the time. So why was her coverage dropped? It wasn’t because of acne, it may have had something to do with the fact that she lied about her weight on her insurance application and she failed to disclose that she had an irregular heartbeat. Whoops.
The woman’s testimony at the June 16 hearing confirms that her surgery was delayed several months. It also suggests that the dermatologist’s chart may have described her skin condition as precancerous, that the insurer also took issue with an apparent failure to disclose an earlier problem with an irregular heartbeat, and that she knowingly underreported her weight on the application.
We don’t need a complete overhaul of our health care system nor government intervention to tweak the system so pre-existing conditions like ‘irregular heartbeats’ are covered by default.
Let’s put aside all of the contradictions with the health care bill for a moment. Let’s forget about the President’s lies I’ve already exposed. Let’s focus on the fact that when the President of the United States stood at the podium on the floor of Congress and spoke to the Joint Session and the American people, he misled everyone into believing these sad stories from the “victims of healthcare in America”.
If the current President of the United States can’t even tell us the truth about the people who are adversely affected by our current health care system, what makes you think he has any intention of telling us the truth where the new health care proposals are concerned?