Focus on the Family Falsely Claims Obamacare Forces Insurance Companies to Cancel Policies
Citizen Link, the political arm of Focus on the Family, recently falsely claimed that Obamacare forced a man’s insurance company to drop him from his plan.
This same line has been peddled numerous times by Fox News in some “fake” scare stories, notes MediaMatters.org.
In a “stoplight” report, Citizen Link’s Stuart Shepard noted a story by NBC News which reported:
“George Schwab, 62, of North Carolina, said he was “perfectly happy” with his plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also insured his wife for a $228 monthly premium. But this past September, he was surprised to receive a letter saying his policy was no longer available. The “comparable” plan the insurance company offered him carried a $1,208 monthly premium and a $5,500 deductible.”
And the best option he’s found on the exchange so far offered a 415 percent jump in premium, to $948 a month. “The deductible is less,” he said, “But the plan doesn’t meet my needs. Its unaffordable.”
“I’m sitting here looking at this, thinking we ought to just pay the fine and just get insurance when we’re sick,” Schwab added. “Everybody’s worried about whether the website works or not, but that’s fixable. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. This stuff isn’t fixable.”
Shepard then falsely claimed, “because of Obamacare his plan was cancelled.”
In reality, Obamacare doesn’t require any plan to be cancelled. What it does require is that insurance plans must cover 10 “essential health benefits,” such as hospitalization.
Schwab’s insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina could have easily added those “essential health benefits,” into his existing plan at a comparable rate, but refused to do so.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, instead, offered him a far more expensive plan.
None of those actions by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina are mandated by Obamacare.
White House spokesperson Jessica Santillo told NBC News: “Nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their health plans: The law allows plans that covered people at the time the law was enacted to continue to offer that same coverage to the same enrollees – nothing has changed and that coverage can continue into 2014.”
While it is U.S. law that people sign up for health care coverage, Shepard said it would be “perfectly rational” if Schwab followed through on his possible plan to not sign up for health insurance until he becomes ill, which would be a violation of U.S. law.
Shepard then stated, “and because it’s perfectly rational, millions of Americans will be making that same choice.”
Shepard provided no actual evidence of his claim, but again, appeared to be encouraging people to violate U.S. law.
“If most Americans make rational choices then the Affordable Care Act cannot work, just not enough money, you know what that says about Obamacare, right?’ Shepard asks the camera.
Shepard failed to mention people with cancer who need Obamacare coverage to survive because they could not get health care coverage before the Affordable Care Act.
The New York Times recently reported on Richard Streeter, who was dropped by his health insurance company in 2008, only to discover he had advanced colon cancer in September of this year.
His physician Dr. J. Scott Gibson says that Streeter is the second patient he has had this year who put off getting medical attention because of lack of health insurance (before Obamacare).
The New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof had a message for Obamacare-haters (such as Shepard and Focus on the Family):
But how about showing empathy also for a far larger and more desperate group: The nearly 50 million Americans without insurance who play health care Russian roulette as a result. FamiliesUSA, a health care advocacy group that supports Obamacare, estimated last year that an American dies every 20 minutes for lack of insurance.
(Sources: The New York Times, CitizenLink.com, MediaMatters.org, NBC News, Charlotte Observer)