July 14, 2011

Obama’s False Family Drama: Ann Dunham Was Not Denied Health Insurance Coverage During Life-Ending Illness

As Clay Waters at the Media Research Center’s Times Watch reported earlier today (“One of Obama’s Emotional Arguments for Obama-Care Proven Wrong in NYT Staffer’s New Book”), the New York Times’s Kevin Sack ran a story yesterday which “reflects badly on Barack Obama and how he misled people in his campaign for Obama-care.”

I’ll say. As reported by Sack (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Book Challenges Obama on Mother’s Deathbed Fight

During his presidential campaign and subsequent battle over a health care law, Mr. Obama quieted crowds with the story of his mother’s fight with her insurer over whether her cancer was a pre-existing condition that disqualified her from coverage.

In offering the story as an argument for ending pre-existing condition exclusions by health insurers, the president left the clear impression that his mother’s fight was over health benefits for medical expenses.

But in “A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother,” author Janny Scott quotes from correspondence from the president’s mother to assert that the 1995 dispute concerned a Cigna disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer had apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument.

Ms. Scott took a leave from her job as a reporter for The New York Times to write the book and has not returned to the staff.

… “We have not reviewed the letters or other material on which the author bases her account,” said Nicholas Papas, the (White House) spokesman. “The president has told this story based on his recollection of events that took place more than 15 years ago.”

“As Ms. Scott’s account makes clear, the president’s mother incurred several hundred dollars in monthly uncovered medical expenses that she was relying on insurance to pay,” Mr. Papas said. “She first could not get a response from the insurance company, then was refused coverage. This personal history of the president’s speaks powerfully to the impact of pre-existing condition limits on insurance protection from health care costs.”

Disability insurance, which primarily replaces wages lost to illness, was never at issue in the legislative debate over the Affordable Care Act.

… According to Ms. Scott’s book, Ms. (Ann) Dunham’s problem with Cigna started after she left Jakarta, Indonesia, where she had recently taken a consulting job with an American firm, and returned to Honolulu for treatment of abdominal pain that had been diagnosed as appendicitis. After being told she had uterine and ovarian cancer, she underwent a hysterectomy in February 1995 and then six months of chemotherapy, according to the book.

The Cigna disability policy, according to Ms. Scott, allowed the company to deny a claim if a patient had seen a doctor about the condition that caused the disability in the three months before employment.

Seriously now, in the sixth excerpted paragraph Mr. Papas seems to be making a case that one should be able to qualify not just for health insurance coverage but also disability insurance coverage (which, by the way, is meant to cover lost income and living expenses while disabled, and is not specifically designed to cover medical expenses) even if at the time you apply for it you already have a disabling condition. Next up: Auto insurance people can buy after they’re in a crash.

The Times’s Sack left an important additional contradiction in Barack Obama’s narrative out of his coverage. While Sack notes that Ms. Dunham “had recently taken a consulting job with an American firm,” that is not how Barack Obama described her situation at the February 2010 Healthcare summit just one month before the final House vote in which Obamacare passed. Specifically, as Christopher Santarelli reported at the Blaze on Tuesday afternoon (video is at the link; bold is mine):

Barack Obama at the February 2010 Healthcare summit (said): “My Mother, who was self-employed, didn’t have reliable healthcare, and she died of ovarian cancer. There probably is nothing modern medicine could have done about that, it was caught late and thats a hard cancer to diagnose. I do remember the last six months of her life, insurance companies threatening that they would not reimburse her for her costs. And her having to be on the phone in the hospital argueing with insurance companies when what she should have been doing is spending time with her family.”

Scott’s investigation however shows that 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 where Scott reports the job provided Dunham with health insurance, a housing allowance, and a car.

Even though it punches a hole a mile wide in the President’s personal narrative justifying the passage of Obamacare, I don’t hold out much hope for seeing what Sack reported at the Times or Santarelli’s addendum elsewhere beyond the usual burial grounds at ABC’s Political Punch and the Politico, where stories the establishment press would rather not widely distribute seem to go and die. The Times itself carried Sack’s story on Page A16 of Thursday’s print edition. A search on “Dunham” at the Associated Press’s main site just before 10 p.m. returned nothing relevant. If anyone sees this mentioned at the Big Three networks, let me know.

This morning, Ann Althouse was a bit more blunt about all of this in her headline and brief commentary:

Obama lied about a central fact about his own life which he used — powerfully — to push health care reform.

… “Lied” is my paraphrasing. The NYT wrote “mischaracterized.”

Meanwhile, I recall a (discredited) attempt to discredit President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard Service — which was never used by Bush to prop up a public policy initiative — getting wall-to-wall press coverage in September 2004. No double standard there (/sarcasm).

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Minn. Shutdown Follow-up: State Demanding MillerCoors Pull Product Over Less Than $1,200

Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the State of Minnesota, where the government is shut down but spokesman for the Department of Public Safety Doug Neville is somehow still working, is demanding that MillerCoors pull its products from Gopher State store shelves within days, and identified a number of questions non-inquisitive Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Roper should have asked and didn’t.

One of the questions which didn’t make my list, which wasn’t intended to be comprehensive, is: “How much money is involved?” As seen in the headline, the answer is so trivial that it almost costs more to think about it than to say what it is. The potential embarrassment over this matter may partially explain why Democratic Farm Labor Governor Mark Dayton appears to have sued for peace this morning (covered later in this post). Readers will also have a hard time believing the penny-ante amount over which retailers whose “buyer’s cards” have expired will from all appearances be prevented from buying alcoholic beverages for resale.


Initial Unemployment Claims: 405K SA, Down From Upwardly Revised 427K; NSA Claims 470K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:44 am

The good news, relatively speaking: Initial unemployment claims per the Department of Labor for the week ended July 9 dropped to 405,000, beating expectations (according to Zero Hedge) of 415,000.

The bad news: The upward revision to the previous week was an unusually high 9,000 (from 418K to 427K), and it was the 14th straight week over 400,000.

Here’s the history of the past 19 weeks:


The suspicions here:

  • Next week will show a big upward revision to this week.
  • Next week itself will come in higher because the previous week was holiday-shortened.
  • Or both.

We’ll see.

Not seasonally adjusted (NSA) claims were 471,000, down about 9% from the same week a year ago.


UPDATE: In a complete non-surprise, the Associated Press in its unbylined 8:52 a.m. report (is that you in there, Chris Rugaber?) not only failed to note the size of the revision to the previous week, it failed to note the existence of a revision to the previous week.

Quick-Hits (071411, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 8:46 am

Barely scratching the surface …


Misleading headline Wednesday at CBS News, via Corbett B. Daly: “Obama says he cannot guarantee Social Security checks will go out on August 3.” Given Daly’s bogus attempt a week ago to claim that anyone who believes that Obama administration policies lengthened the recession and made it worse is being “factually inaccurate” (shattered by yours truly), this is no surprise. More correctly stated at Hot Air: “Social Security chief actuary confirms a decision to withhold checks would come from the Treasury.” In other words, the decision to delay or not issue Social Security checks would be a political call by the President, and would not be a necessity brought about by lack of funds. James Pethokoukis at Reuters has the numerical proof. Barack Obama is the person willing to throw seniors under the bus to accomplish his political goals. Party of compassion my a**.


At the Washington Post’s Checkpoint Washington blog, based on an IBOPE Zogby poll — “In most (Arab) countries surveyed, favorable attitudes toward the United States dropped to levels lower than they were during the last year of the Bush administration.”


Muslim outreach failure, part 429, from the underappreciated Patrick Poole“Somali-Americans from Minnesota Leave to Wage Jihad with Al-Shabaab Terror Group.” Money quote: “… the U.S. government continues to conduct “outreach” to the very individuals responsible for radicalizing these youths and recruiting them for jihad.” We couldn’t do worse if we were screwing up on purpose … or maybe we are. Poole’s output at Pajamas Media during the past three months reveals a government bent on giving jihadist Muslims a pass at seemingly every turn.


Patrick Richardson at Pajamas Media“Gunwalker: Smoking Gun Email — An internal ATF email seems to support the assertion that Fast and Furious was a PR stunt for gun control.” Some “stunt”: People are dead. There’s also this, from Katie Pavlich at Townhall: “Operation Fast and Furious: Designed to Promote Gun Control.” The no-sense-of-shame Department of Justice is working on gun-restricting rules which they believe would not require legislation. I know the debt-ceiling is tying up a lot of everybody’s time, but somebody besides Darrell Issa (read: John Boehner and Mitch McConnell) needs to start making the DOJ-FBI-ATF self-inflicted tragedies and the gun-regulating attempts more widely known. In terms of Fast and Furious, they need to start calling for heads to roll, a special prosecutor, or both.

Positivity: Researcher finds proof of widespread Jewish support for Pope Pius XII

Filed under: Life-Based News — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Denver:

Jul 14, 2011 / 06:12 am

An expert on Pope Pius XII says new discoveries show that the Jewish community strongly supported the pontiff for his stand against anti-Semitism and support for Jewish rights during World War II.

Researcher William Doino outlined evidence that he says makes it clear the late Pope “wanted to break down walls of anti-Jewish prejudice, not erect them.”

Doino shared his his findings exclusively with CNA, pointing to magazine articles from the 1930s that feature Jewish American veterans lauding Pius XII for his deep respect for the Jewish community and their customs.

In April of 1939, just one month after Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope, the U.S. Jewish Veteran magazine called the new Pope’s leadership “a source of great satisfaction to Jews.”

“Pope Pius XII is known as a staunch friend of Jews,” the veterans wrote, noting the success of his election despite the attempts by anti-Semitic Fascists to prevent it.

The March 1939 issue of the magazine also expressed the community’s “fervent hope” that Pius XII would “have a long and successful reign; that he will fill the spiritual vacuum left by the decease of his predecessor, and that he too will be sanctified by the love of his fellow men.”

Doino, who has contributed extensively to an anthology titled “The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII” (Lexington Books), said it has long been documented that Pius XII strongly opposed Fascism and Nazism and “abhorred anti-Semitism.”

However, he said, “research in the last decade has revealed more.”