We’ll file this in the credit where credit is due department. Greta Van Susteren more or less debunked a Florida Obamacare “victim” who had been profiled on CBS as losing her health insurance and being stuck with a plan that costs ten times more. In an October 28th interview, Van Susteren pointed out that the existing health insurance policy was almost worthless and the “victim” herself admitted she may well be eligible for a policy at substantially less than the amount being touted. However, there were plenty of clues that Van Susteren’s revelation was less than welcome music to Fox News’ ears.
As Tommy Christopher noted in Mediaite, 56 year-old Dianne Barrette, from Florida, had been profiled as an Obamacare victim in a misleading report by Jan Crawford on CBS News.
Crawford’s report omitted loads of key information, including the fact that …Barrette’s old insurance plan barely even qualifies as insurance, paying only $50 toward most of the small list of covered services (Dianne pays the rest), and offering exactly zero coverage for hospitalization. Crawford also failed to mention that, based on her age and income, Barrette’s new plan would actually cost her about $209 a month, not $591.
Van Susteren’s scripted introduction revealed how much fact checking had been done by Fox News producers when they pounced to showcase Barrette, i.e. none. Van Susteren said, “A Florida woman finding out she will have to pay ten times as much for her health insurance. That is because she is losing her current plan to Obamacare.” During the interview, a banner on the screen read: VANISHING HEALTH PLANS, FL WOMAN: NEW PLAN WILL COST 10X MORE
But kudos to Van Susteren who not only did her research but had the integrity to speak up. She said, “Your $54 a month policy is a pretty, you know, bare bones policy. Why do you want to keep that one, except for the price? Maybe you can get something better with a subsidy?”
“Well, I know it doesn’t cover lengthy hospital stays. But It’s perfect for what I want," Barrette claimed. She said, "I get co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions. So it suffices, what I need. And also, the price isn’t too bad, either.”
According to Christopher, Barrette’s current plan doesn’t cover any hospitalization “unless Dianne suffers complications from pregnancy. Then, it pays fifty bucks. It doesn’t cover any outpatient care, except for mammography, osteoporosis screening, diabetes self-management, and complications from pregnancy. For that handful of services, the plan pays $50, and Dianne pays the rest.”
Van Susteren agreed with Barrette that her plan is “very confusing.”
However, after underscoring how Barrette was “promised you could keep your policy if you like it,” Van Susteren said she had to point out that Barrette would be “in deep trouble” if she got hit by a car under her existing policy. “So maybe it turns out that there… “ Van Susteren stumbled over her words and never actually said “there would likely be a better policy out there.” But it was what she clearly meant.
At that point Barrette admitted that she has received many emails and "links" to plans "I'd like to look into" that would cost less than the 10 times more she had originally thought she'd have to pay. And that Fox was still trumpeting.
Still, Van Susteren made a point of underscoring that Barrette will have to pay for services she "may not want" and that it is confusing. “I don’t recommend, at least not right now, HealtCare.gov to getting it clarified,” Van Susteren added, taking another swipe at Obamacare. Then, loud and clear, she reiterated the latest Republican talking points: “Your promise wasn’t kept. You don’t get to keep your policy, I can tell you that much.”
Eric Wemple reported in the Washington Post that after this segment aired, Barrette’s appearance on Fox the following morning was canceled.
So again, props to Van Susteren for sticking with the truth. But for Fox News which clearly had a different agenda in mind? Not so much.
Barrette and perhaps Greta might want to turn their paychecks over to someone who can actually handle their money for them, because based on the “have to pay for services she ‘may not want’” comment, it looks like neither of them should be trusted with handling money at all. You do this with cable—you pay for channels that don’t appeal to you in order to get others that you do want at a lower cost. (I’ve no interest in sports channels or religious channels—or FoxNoise—but a number of them come with my “basic” cable package but there are a number of channels I’d like to get instead but the cable provider won’t offer a “swapout” package.) You do this with auto insurance—you can get a lower rate by assuming a higher deductible or take a higher rate by assuming a lower deductible. Maybe you need (or want) full coverage so that your insurance will pay out for someone’s smashing into you instead of just liability in case you hit someone else.
And what about life insurance? An accident can kill you just as easily at 20 as it can at 50 but the insurance premium for a 20-year old is lower than for a 50-year old and a high-value policy will cost more than a low-value policy. And while many life insurance policies don’t punish you for “pre-existing conditions,” they will charge higher premiums for people who smoke or who’ve had a stroke or heart attack or who’ve been diagnosed with cancer.
Or homeowner’s or renter’s insurance? Policies can offer full coverage for theft or if property burns down or gets hit by a tornado OR it can offer partial coverage. Obviously, full coverage is going to cost more than partial coverage. BUT, neither type of insurance can replace “sentiment” or “memories”—family photos that get wiped out in a fire or tornado are gone, forever. No amount of insurance will ever really replace them (some things might be duplicated to some degree but if the precious baby photos of your 16-year old burn up, you can’t possibly replace them in any fashion). And even if you’ve got “special” insurance to cover rare items (such as collectibles—such as a Cabbage Patch collection or antique thimbles), you may get the value in cash, but you may never be able to actually replace the items themselves.
Any takers on trying to defend this one? Gimme a reason, Fox Defenders.