Anti-Obamacare patient can’t believe new plan costs less


A Michigan cancer patient featured in a recent anti-Obamacare ad has complained that her new health insurance plan is “unaffordable,” but the new plan will save her more than $1000 a year, according to fact-checkers at the Detroit News.

In the ad, released last month by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, Julie Boonstra spoke about her battle with Leukemia. The 49-year-old said she had a doctor she liked and a treatment plan that was working well for her, that was, until she said a letter in came in the mail explaining that her plan had been “canceled because of Obamacare.”

“Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable,” she said in the ad slot. “If I do not receive my medication, I will die.”

She excoriated Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is running to claim Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat once he retires, for voting in favor of the health reform law. “Your decision to vote for Obamacare, jeopardized my health,” she said in the ad. 

But when the Detroit News (among others) fact-checked those costs, they found Boonstra stood to save money with her new plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan: 

Boonstra’s old plan cost $1,100 a month in premiums or $13,200 a year, she previously told The News. It didn’t include money she spent on co-pays, prescription drugs and other out-of-pocket expenses.

By contrast, the Blues’ plan premium costs $571 a month or $6,852 for the year. Since out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100, including deductibles, the maximum Boonstra would pay this year for all of her cancer treatment is $11,952.

When faced with the facts that her maximum out-of-pocket cost for the year would be $1,200 less over the course of the year, patient Boonstra told the paper it couldn’t be true. 

“I personally do not believe that,” she said, adding that she was worried about potentially excessive upfront costs before she reached her maximum. 

Americans for Prosperity, backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has aggressively targeted Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections with similar anti-Obamacare attack ads across the country. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined fellow Democrats late last month in pushing back against the attacks, which have already come under intense scrutiny

“Those tales turned out to be just that: tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines forming political advertisements,” Reid said late last month. 

Reid described Boonstra’s ad specifically as “absolutely false.” 

“I was completely outraged,” Boonstra said in response to Reid. “I deserve an apology.”