Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bette in Spokane Turns Out to be a Victim – Not of Health Care Reform but of Politicians Seeking to Distort Health Care Reform

And Also A Person Who Really Doesn’t Care What She Pays for Health Insurance

Paul Krugman sends us to the story of Bette in Spokane, a person who was used to illustrate what Republicans say are huge increases in health insurance premiums for many people under health care reform. Krugman thought he smelled a rat in this story, it turns out that it was a giant rat from Sumatra (look it up Sherlock fans).  And it turns out the truth is hardly what Republicans would have one believe.

The woman described only as “Bette in Spokane” during a nationally televised address by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Wednesday she had no idea her frustrations over increasing insurance premiums would become part of the Republican attack on health care reform.
Not that Bette Grenier, a critic of the Affordable Care Act, minds that much.
But the “nearly $700 per month” increase in her premium that McMorris Rodgers cited in Tuesday night’s GOP response to the State of the Union address was based on the priciest option, a $1,200-a-month replacement plan that was pitched by Asuris Northwest to Grenier and her husband, Don.

And what were her other options?

The carrier also offered a less expensive, $1,052-per-month option in lieu of their soon-to-be-discontinued catastrophic coverage plan. And, Grenier acknowledged the couple probably could have shaved another $100 a month off the replacement policy costs by purchasing them from the state’s online portal, the Health Plan Finder website, but they chose to avoid the government health exchanges.

So why didn’t these folks go look for the less expensive solutions?  Oh they hate Mr. Obama and didn’t want to avail themselves of something he supported.

“I wouldn’t go on that Obama website at all,” said Grenier, 58, who lives in the Chattaroy area and owns a roofing company with her husband. “We liked our old plan. It worked for us, but they can’t offer it anymore.”

And did the Congresswoman who used this example check things out before?  Probably not.

McMorris Rodgers’ office provided no explanation Wednesday on what steps were taken to verify the figures.
Melanie Colette, McMorris Rodgers’ spokeswoman, would only say Bette is “one of hundreds of people in Eastern Washington that have contacted the congresswoman with their concerns about the president’s health care law.”

But what about the cheap insurance Bette had before?  Turns out it was hardly insurance at all.  It had a $10,000 deductible.

Now Mr. Obama is much to blame in as far as the rhetoric is concerned.  He made the statement that people could keep their existing policies, not out of deceit but more likely out of ignorance.  And the law should have allowed people like Bette to keep this ridiculous policy as long as they paired it with something like a tax deductible medical savings plan that would hold at least half the deductible.  The whole incident is just yet another example of the terrible design of health care reform.

But in the end we just have another politician willing to obliterate the truth in pursuit of denying people health care and health care insurance. What a noble cause Republicans have set themselves upon.

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