By Albert Lin
An anti-Affordable Care Act TV commercial sponsored by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity has been exposed as untrue.
In the February spot (which you can watch below), Michigan resident and leukemia patient Julie Boonstra says, “My insurance was canceled because of Obamacare. Now the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it’s unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die.”
But the Detroit News reveals that her new ACA plan will actually cost her significantly less, with out-of-pocket costs capped at $5,100 versus the federal maximum of $6,350. Moreover, her new premium is only $571 per month for a total of $6,852 annually, whereas the premium on her old plan was $1,100 per month ($13,200 annually). That means that if Boonstra’s bills reach her out-of-pocket maximum, she would save at least $7,598.
When the News told Boonstra of the projected savings, she replied, “That can’t be true. I personally do not believe that.”
She added that because she now buys one prescription using a discount card rather than through her insurance, her out-of-pocket costs will be higher. But Andy Hetzel of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which administers Boonstra’s new plan, told the News that this prescription is covered. He advises her to buy it using the new plan so the co-pay counts toward her out-of-pocket maximum.
Boonstra also is able to stay with her oncologist under her new plan, alleviating another of her concerns.
“We understand that change can be confusing and that Boonstra was annoyed at having to sign up for a new plan,” said The Washington Post in its The Fact Checker column. “But it appears she jumped on television without trying to understand the basics about her new coverage. (Initially, she even seemed to believe she would have to pay 20 percent of the cost of a $350,000 bone marrow transplant, when in fact everything above the out-of-pocket maximum would be covered.)”
This is not the first time an American for Prosperity ad has come under fire. ABC News reported that an ad that ran in Louisiana used paid actors to portray residents supposedly negatively impacted by the Affordable Care Act. AFP has spent more than $30 million to buy advertising time to attack Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act.
Boonstra’s original ad is below:
Americans for Prosperity released a second version when critics began to question the assertion that Boonstra’s costs would be unaffordable, and when the office of Michigan Congressman Gary Peters asked for documentation of the ad’s claims.
In the updated ad below, Boonstra simply says, “I am now stuck with a plan that doesn’t work for me. My choice was taken away from me.” She also accuses Peters of trying to “silence” her.