HuffPo asserts that Paul Ryan lied in his speech. I haven’t listened to the speech, nor have I read the HuffPo piece. I just found the HuffPo claim amusing because a few minutes before reading that headline, I had just read David Axelrod’s email begging me, yet again, to donate $3 to the Obama/Biden campaign (emphasis mine):
Judging from the number of times they’ve said it this week, you would think repealing Obamacare on Day One is the most urgent goal of the Republican Party and number one reason to elect Mitt Romney.
I’d like to know what’s noble about making it harder for people to get health care.
President Obama refused to give up on this legislation because he knew it was about real people — people like his own mother who, in her final days, battled cancer and mounting bills, or my daughter Lauren, whose intractable epilepsy, at just seven months old, nearly bankrupted our family and burdened her with a pre-existing condition that threatened her future coverage.
Today, there are millions of families like ours who won’t have to suffer through needless heartache over situations beyond their control.
If the President loses, Republicans are guaranteeing those protections will be gone with him.
You can make sure that doesn’t happen. Donate $3 or more before this Friday’s critical FEC deadline.
When the Supreme Court affirmed the Affordable Care Act, I was moved to tears. This week, the Republicans are moving a lot of people to act as well — to make sure they can’t take their destructive platform to the White House.
The next time you hear someone at the Republican convention attack Obamacare, remember what they’re actually trying to take away.
The highlighted language states two things: (1) that Obama’s mother died of cancer; and (2) that she had mounting bills because her insurance company wouldn’t pay for her care. The first statement is true, in that Dunham did indeed die of cancer. The second, however, is a blatant lie. Dunham did indeed struggle with an insurance company, but that struggle had nothing to do with her medical bills, which her insurer paid (emphasis mine):
“I will never forget my own mother, as she fought cancer in her final months, having to worry about whether her insurance would refuse to pay for her treatment. And by the way, this was because the insurance company was arguing that somehow she should have known that she had cancer, when she took her new job, even though it hadn’t been diagnosed yet,” Obama said at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., on Aug. 11, 2009.
But a biography of Obama’s mother and additional reporting by the New York Times have shown that a key point of that anecdote is incorrect. Obama’s mother was fighting not for treatment but for payments from a disability insurance policy.
A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother by journalist Janny Scott documents the life of Obama’s mother, S. Ann Dunham, an anthropologist who also worked on the issues of development aid and microcredit in Indonesia.
The book documents Dunham’s final illness — uterine and ovarian cancer — in some detail. Dunham’s illness became acute when she was working in Indonesia in 1994, and she was diagnosed in Hawaii early the next year.
Scott interviewed Dunham’s doctor, family and friends for the book and had access to Dunham’s correspondence and personal papers. According to Scott’s account, Dunham’s health insurance covered her treatment.
But Dunham also filed a claim for disability insurance. It was the disability insurance company that refused to pay because they said her cancer was a pre-existing condition, according to the book.
Some facts lend themselves to differing interpretations. The facts about Obama’s mother and her medical coverage for cancer do not. Obama lied. Axelrod perpetuates that lie.