Dianne Barrette, the Winter Haven, Fla., woman who made a whirlwind media tour of the media last week as the latest “victim” of Obamacare — to the point where she kidded one media outlet, “You guys are going to be sick of my face”— has done a complete 180. She now says that she would “jump at” the chance to sign up for a new plan under the Affordable Care Act, which is the actual name of the “Obamacare” law.
In fact, Barrette (pictured) says that losing her old and woefully inadequate plan, which is what got her face time on several national TV outlets, was actually a “blessing in disguise.”
Three shows from the Fox News network alone called Barrette to appear, telling her story of how Obamacare caused her to lose her insurance. She also appeared as the key source in a CBS story supposedly detailing how the new health care law is causing people nationwide to lose their insurance coverage.
It was on Fox News, which has generally taken a resolutely anti-ACA position on all of its programming, that the cracks in Barrette’s story first started to appear. Interviewer Greta Van Susteren pointed out that Barrette’s plan, for which she paid $50 per month in premiums, offered her almost no coverage at all.
“I must say though that your policy is like, you know, if you are walking across the street and someone runs a red light, you are in deep trouble under your existing policy,” the Fox News host told Barrette.
To which the 56-year-old realtor replied, “That is true.”
Barrette’s plan paid only $50 toward doctor visits which can cost much more than that amount — hundreds, even thousands more if tests are required. Under her plan, Barrette was responsible for all of those costs.
The plan also paid nothing if she was hospitalized, though hospital stays can easily run into five-figure sums, which Barrette, who reportedly makes $30,000 per year, would have to pay.
Consumer Reports called the type of plan to which Barrette subscribed “junk insurance,” which ropes in consumers of modest incomes with their low premiums. But in fact, while the premiums are indeed low, the plans are essentially worthless.
“People buy a plan that’s terrible,” says Nancy Metcalf of Consumer Reports. “If they get sick, they don’t even know they don't have insurance.”
When Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic magazine called Barrette to tell her that she could obtain a plan through the federal health care exchange that, under the Affordable Care Act, would cost only between $50 and $100 more than she previously paid, yet offered comprehensive coverage, Barrette said she would “jump at” the chance to buy it.
“With my age, things can happen,” she told the reporter. “I don’t want to have bills that could make me bankrupt. I don’t want to lose my house.”
Sources: The New Republic, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post (2), MSNBC, CBS News