KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Fact Checking Anecdotes: Obama Wrong On Particulars In Cancer And Acne Insurance Denial Case

When President Obama recently recounted the story of a woman he said was denied coverage for failure to own up to a skin condition when she enrolled in a plan, he was incorrect, The Associated Press reports.

"Robin Lynn Beaton, 59, of Waxahachie, Texas, indeed had her insurance suspended and then terminated when she needed it the most. Hers is a cautionary tale about how an insurance company can act in a seemingly arbitrary manner to revoke coverage for lifesaving treatment. But not for the reasons Obama cites." She didn't lose her coverage because of a past skin problem she failed to disclose. "She lost it because, when enrolling in the plan, she had not reported a previous heart condition and did not list her weight accurately."

Obama uses real-life examples frequently in speeches and interviews as part of his push for to overhaul the health system. And "[i]n reflexively blaming insurance companies, Obama is playing into fears that have become a frightening reality for many Americans. Health insurance under the current system is not always the rock-solid guarantee you think you're paying for" (Woodward, 9/29).

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