Kudos to one of our competitors, The Detroit News, for digging out the facts on the Dexter (Mich.) cancer patient who claimed in a conservative group’s TV ad campaign that her new Obamacare coverage was “unaffordable” when, in fact, it will save her more than $1,200 this year.
The emotional television ad featuring Julie Boonstra -- sponsored by Americans For Prosperity, a right-wing group that relies considerably on the infamous Koch Brothers for funding – ignited a controversy last month when fact-checkers in the media found that her story was misleading, if not entirely false.
The ad was aimed at Gary Peters, the Democratic candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by Carl Levin. Peters, a West Bloomfield Township congressman, responded to the inaccuracies in the commercial by calling on TV stations across the state to take the 30-second spot down.
In turn, AFP and some Michigan Republicans whacked Peters, claiming that he was disrespecting a woman who may not survive her bout with cancer.
The News found that while Boonstra said her old plan, which didn't meet basic coverage standards under Obamacare, cost $1,100 a month in premiums or $13,200 a year, she failed to mention her costs for co-pays, prescription drugs and other out-of-pocket expenses.
By contrast, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan premium plan she purchased on the Affordable Care Act exchange costs $571 a month, or $6,852 for the year, according to the News. Since out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100, including deductibles and the cost of medications, the maximum Boonstra would pay for all of her cancer treatment is $11,952 for the year.
When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”
“I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.
The News intoned:
“A Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan spokesman said the insurer welcomes the chance to help members understand their benefits and alleviate concerns.
“‘We are here to help people like Ms. Boonstra to work their way through adjusting to the health plans we are now offering them,” the Blue’s Andy Hetzel said. “If there are questions ... they should call.’”
One other thing: Boonstra, 49, is the ex-wife of Mark Boonstra, the former Washtenaw County GOP chairman whom Gov. Rick Snyder appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2012.