In the short period of time since the new health insurance exchanges opened on October 1, opponents of the law have presented a series of Americans who claim that the law is not doing what the president promised. However, the claims of most of these anti-Obamacare “poster children” have been debunked. Thanks to the shoddy reporting of CBS News, the latest poster child is a 56 year old Floridian named Dianne Barrette.
As reported here on October 29, Dianne Barrette was the centerpiece of a thinly disguised Obamacare hit piece that ran on CBS This Morning. In the piece Barrette claimed that she had an insurance policy that she was happy with — one that only cost her $54 a month. Barrette’s story did not hold up to scrutiny. As Tommy Christopher explains on Mediaite,
First of all, the plan that Barrette paid $54 a month for is barely health insurance at all. It’s part of a subset of insurance that Consumer Reports calls “junk health insurance” (and which even the company that sells it recommends that customers not rely solely upon) and it pays only $50 towards most of the services it covers. That’s it. If Dianne went to the doctor every week for a year, her plan would pay, at most, $2600. Meanwhile, based on average office visit charges, Diane would pay about $5,600.00. She probably doesn’t go to the doctor every week, of course, which means her plan pays a lot less, while her premium buys her a lot less. If she goes to the doctor, say, six times in a year, she’s paid a $648 premium for the privilege of spending another $600 on office visits. The plan also pays up to $15 per prescription, which will get you a few milligrams of most prescription drugs. The one decent deal on her plan is that it covers 100% of in-network lab services.
CBS also did not bother to explain that certain policies can be “grandfathered” in under the Affordable Care Act. If Dianne Barrette’s policy had been available before the ACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010, she could keep it. The only exception to that rule is if the benefits under the policy are changed. So the cancellation of her policy is the fault of Blue Cross, not Obamacare.
Fox News seeks out Dianne Barrette.
Even though the CBS report has been completely debunked, Dianne Barrette is telling her story on Fox News. Erik Wemple, media reporter for The Washington Post, spoke to Barrette. She confirmed that she spoke to producers from the shows “Fox and Friends,” “Your World,” and “On the Record.” Barrette told Wemple “You guys are going to be sick of my face.”
Barrette appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show “On the Record” on October 28. In an amazing display of journalism that was lacking from CBS, Van Susteren makes the following observation: “If you are walking across the street and someone runs a red light, you are in deep trouble under your existing policy.” Barrette replies “That is true.”
Van Susteren refers to Dianne Barrette’s existing policy as “bare bones,” and “stripped down.” She asks why Barrette would want to keep that policy. Barrette admits that the policy doesn’t cover hospital stays. At one point Van Susteren suggests that there may be options other than the replacement policy recommended by Blue Cross. Barrette admits that she has received email directing her to other policies. She says that she is interested in looking at them. Like the CBS report, Van Susteren makes no mention of the “grandfather” clause in the ACA. Nor does she explain that due to that provision, it is actually the insurance company that is forcing the cancellation of the policy.
The interview shows that many Americans have no idea of what their health insurance actually covers. A good number of people pay more attention to the cost than to the coverage. What is or isn’t covered only becomes a concern when they get sick. Barrette calls the policy “totally confusing.” Van Susteren, who is a lawyer, agrees. But the brochure about the plan is quite plain: the plan pays up to $50 for most covered services. Lab services are 100% paid for. There is no coverage for hospital stays.
After both women agree that Barrette’s current policy is almost worthless, Van Susteren says “Your promise wasn’t kept. You don’t get to keep your policy.” Yes, damned Obamacare. Forcing people off insurance policies that won’t cover anything they actually need to have covered. The horror!
Here’s the video, from Fox News: