Thursday, September 10, 2009

Caught in a blatant lie within 24 hours

While watching the president's speech last night I was suspicious about the story he told of the fellow who lost his health care insurance. Here's a fellow at who probably works in pajamas at his computer doing the job that the mainstream media would be doing if they weren't so deeply in the president's pocket that they're covered with lint and smell like Chinese Chestnut flowers in the spring.

Obama Misrepresents Insurance Case

From Mr. Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress last night:
“One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it.”

This is the sad story of Mr. Otto Raddatz, a case that Mr. Obama has cited several times before, including in his August 16th editorial in the New York Times.

For the record, however, the case is not exactly the way Mr. Obama has characterized it, at least according to the sworn testimony of Mr. Raddatz’s sister.

From Ms. Raddatz’s opening statement, from pages 58-59 of the transcript (a pdf file) of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation Committee hearings on ‘The Termination Of Individual Health Policies By Insurance Companies,’ Tuesday, June 16, 2009:

Otto began more chemotherapy for purposes of preparing him for a stem cell transplant. In the midst of his chemo treatments, Otto received a phone call and letter from Fortis Insurance Company stating his insurance was canceled. It was rescinded all the way back to the effective date of August 7, 2004.

This meant none of his cancer treatments would be covered. Most importantly, he would not be able to receive the stem cell transplant need [sic] to save his life. My brother only had a very small window of time in which to have the stem cell transplant. He needed to be scheduled within the next 3 to 4 weeks.

My brother was told he was canceled during what they called a "routine review" during which they claimed to discover a "material failure to disclose". Apparently in 2000 his doctor had done a CT scan which showed an aneurysm and gall stones. My brother was never told of either one of these conditions nor was he ever treated for them and he never reported any symptoms for them either.

After months of preparation, the stem cell transplant could not be scheduled. My brother’s hope for being a cancer survivor were dashed. His prognosis was only a matter of months without the procedure.

Mr. Radditz was faced with having to pay for the stem cell transplant himself in order to save his life.

However, Mr. Raddatz’s lawyer sister contacted the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. They investigated and found that the doctor who did the CT scans could not remember whether he had ever told Mr. Raddatz about his findings.

Consequently, the insurance company overturned their original decision to rescind her brother’s coverage, and he was reinstated in the words of his sister, "without [any] lapse."

Again, from Ms. Raddatz’s sworn testimony:

After two appeals by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Fortis Insurance Company finally overturned their original decision to rescind my brother’s coverage and he was reinstated without lapse. This is after weeks of constant phone calls between myself and the Attorney General’s Office and we were literally scrambling hour by hour to get this accomplished so that my brother wouldn’t lose his 3- to 4-week window of opportunity that he had prepared for and lose his opportunity to have the procedure.

In other words, Mr. Raddatz’s did receive the stem cell transplant without delay.
Indeed, Ms. Raddatz does not seem to claim anywhere in her testimony that the insurance company’s actions shortened her brother’s life. (Though she does accuse them of having been cruel and unethical.)

From page 75 of the hearings transcript:

Mr. Barton. My next question is to the gentle lady there in the middle. Your brother, has he had his stem cell transplant? Ms. Raddatz. He did indeed receive the stem cell transplant. It was extremely successful. It extended his life approximately 3-1/2 years. He did pass away January 6, 2009, and he was about to have a second stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, due to certain situations, his donor became ill at the last minute and so he did pass away on January 6. But again, it extended his life nearly 3-1/2 years and at his age, each day meant everything to him…
This is not quite the impression Mr. Obama gives with his rendition of Mr. Raddatz’s story.
Despite Mr. Obama’s claims, Mr. Raddatz’s treatment was never delayed. And he did not die because of it.

Meanwhile, in this very same speech Mr. Obama accused others of misrepresenting the facts.

Hat tip to Kathry Jean Lopez of National Review who pointed to this post at

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