A woman featured in an anti-Obamacare advertisement is being confronted with an awkward truth right now.
The woman is Julie Boonstra, ex-wife of Washtenaw County, Mich. GOP chairman Mark Boonstra. Julie Boonstra is a leukemia patient. She was featured in an Americans for Prosperity advertisement last month in which she said her out-of-pocket costs under her Affordable Care Act plan were so expensive that she couldn’t afford her medication.
“Without my medication, I will die,” she said in the ad. The commercial was run to paint Rep. Gary Peters, Democrat, who has an upcoming race for a Senate seat, in a negative light over his ACA vote.
Here’s the problem: Boonstra’s out-of-pocket costs will drop under her ACA plan. Boonstra previously told the Detroit News her old plan cost $1,100 a month in premiums, equaling $13,200 a year. This total doesn’t account for co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses.
Her new plan’s premium costs $571 a month, good for $6,852 a year. The ACA caps Boonstra's responsibility for out-pocket-costs at $5,100 a year. Even if Boonstra maxes out her out-of-pocket payment total, the most she will pay for health insurance this year is $11,952 – which is $1,200 less annually than what her old plan cost.
When told that her new plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield would be cheaper than her old one, Boonstra inexplicably said that “can’t be true.”
“I personally do not believe that,” she added.
She told reporters at the Detroit News that she was worried about high expenses early in the year because one of her prescriptions was not covered by her new plan. Wrong again. A representative from Blue Cross told the News that all of her prescriptions are covered under her plan.
Blue Cross representative Andy Hetzel urged customers who are confused about healthcare policy changes to call and ask for help.
“We are here to help people like Ms. Boonstra to work their way through adjusting to the health plans we are now offering them,” Hetzel said. “If there are questions ... they should call.”
It is true that Boonstra never should have had to change her healthcare plan under President Barack Obama’s claim that all who liked their current insurance policies could keep them. But upon switching, Boonstra hopped on television and made false claims about her new policy before even being aware of the coverage it provided.
The advertisement was sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, an organization backed by the billionaire Koch brothers. The Koch brothers have spent unprecedented amounts of money on advertisements in jurisdictions where democratic representatives face reelection.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid recently accused the Koch brothers of trying to buy elections through their unmatched campaign-ad spending. Boonstra recently said that she was offended by Reid’s claim and that she deserved an apology. Reid’s spokesman, Adam Jentleson, offered a response to Boonstra’s frustration.
“Sen. Reid’s criticism is directed entirely at the secretive billionaire Koch brothers who are spending millions to rig the system to benefit themselves and the top 1 percent,” he said.