Election 2016: Clinton message taking shape
Sure sounds like it:
“She was in her hospital room looking at insurance forms because the insurance company said that maybe she had a pre-existing condition and maybe they wouldn’t have to reimburse her for her medical bills,” Obama added in January 2008.
“The insurance companies were saying, ‘Maybe there’s a pre-existing condition and we don’t have to pay your medical bills,’ ” Obama said in a debate with Republican opponent Sen. John McCain in October 2008.
It was a simple and powerful story, one Obama would tell many more times as president during the national health care debate. But now we’re learning the real story of Ann Dunham’s health coverage is not quite what her son made it out to be.
The news is in “A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother,” a generally admiring new biography written by former New York Times reporter Janny Scott. According to the book, Ann Dunham, an anthropologist who spent most of her working life in Indonesia, moved from Jakarta to New York in 1992 to work for a nonprofit called Women’s World Banking, which encouraged micro-lending in Third World countries. Unhappy in New York, in 1994 Dunham took a job with an American company called Development Alternatives, which had a contract with the Indonesian State Ministry for the Role of Women. Dunham returned to Jakarta to work, and Scott reports the job provided Dunham with health insurance, a housing allowance, and a car.
At the time she took the job, Dunham was increasingly worried about her health; she was suffering from intense abdominal pains. In November 1994, Dunham went to an Indonesian doctor who diagnosed appendicitis. As Dunham debated whether to leave the country for surgery, she called her boss at Development Alternatives. “You’ve got health insurance, that’s taken care of,” the boss told her. “We can cover the airfare.”
Dunham decided to stay in Jakarta, where she underwent an appendectomy. But the pain did not go away, and Dunham feared, correctly, that she was terribly ill. In January 1995 she left Indonesia to go home to Honolulu, where she was diagnosed with advanced uterine and ovarian cancer. She began a regime of surgery and chemotherapy.
That is the time during which Obama says his mother battled insurance companies to cover her illness. But Scott, who had access to Dunham’s correspondence from the time, reveals that Dunham unquestionably had health coverage. “Ann’s compensation for her job in Jakarta had included health insurance, which covered most of the costs of her medical treatment,” Scott writes. “Once she was back in Hawaii, the hospital billed her insurance company directly, leaving Ann to pay only the deductible and any uncovered expenses, which, she said, came to several hundred dollars a month.”
So, IOW, it appears the issue was with disability insurance – not health insurance.
If this story pans out, and it appears it will considering the book – according to Byron York – is mostly friendly towards Obama’s mother, it will not be the first time President Obama has either embellished or lied about a “health coverage denied” story and it certainly won’t be the first time he, er, stretched the truth about his family history.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If things are as bad as Democrats make them out to be, why do they always have to make up emotion-based stories to justify their various positions?