Were Pre-Existing Conditions Really a "Personal Issue" For Obama?


On the campaign trail, President Obama backed banning health insurers from excluding individuals from coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It was a "personal issue" for him, he said. "For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53," he said, "and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they're saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don't have to pay her treatment, there's something fundamentally wrong about that." The only problem with this story? It may not be strictly true. From The New York Times:

The White House on Wednesday declined to challenge an account in a new book that suggests that President Obama, in his campaign to overhaul American health care, mischaracterized a central anecdote about his mother's deathbed dispute with her insurance company.

During his presidential campaign and subsequent battle over a health care law, Mr. Obama quieted crowds with the story of his mother's fight with her insurer over whether her cancer was a pre-existing condition that disqualified her from coverage.

In offering the story as an argument for ending pre-existing condition exclusions by health insurers, the president left the clear impression that his mother's fight was over health benefits for medical expenses.

But in "A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother," author Janny Scott quotes from correspondence from the president's mother to assert that the 1995 dispute concerned a Cigna disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer had apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument.

…On Wednesday, in response to repeated requests for comment that The Times first made in mid-June, shortly after the book's release, a White House spokesman chose not to dispute either Ms. Scott's account or Mr. Obama's memory, while arguing that Mr. Obama's broader point remained salient.

"We have not reviewed the letters or other material on which the author bases her account," said Nicholas Papas, the spokesman. "The president has told this story based on his recollection of events that took place more than 15 years ago."

Last year, Obama signed a health care overhaul that included a ban on pre-existing conditions exclusions in health insurance. 

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  1. If this kind of sob story works in politics, I’m sure to become President, since my grandparents were tortured and executed by the Stalinist fuckbags.

    What a disingenuous, self-entitled, narcissistic, retarded little shit our Cunt-in-Chief has turned out to be.

    1. Let me know when he lies us into a useless $2 trillion war, doubles federal spending, creates the only new entitlement system since the 60’s, pays low income homebuyers $10,000 per for their downpayments, and whips out TARP as a final “Fuck You” to the country.

      1. Oh lord, this had better be a spoof.

      2. Well, let’s see:

        (1) Lies us into a new war. Check. Price tag not that high, but, damn, give a brother time.

        (2) Doubles federal spending. Lord knows, he’s trying as hard as he can. Hard to do, though, when your own party won’t pass a budget and you have to work with continuing resolutions.

        (3) Homeowner tax credits. Hell, Obama extended it, and added a new one. Wasn’t cash for clunkers his, as well? I think we can check this one off.

        (4) Bush signed TARP, Obama signed the stimulus. I’m willing to call it a tie.

        1. No, Bushy-Boy gave away $10,000 for home downpayments.

          The American Dream Downpayment Act will provide a maximum downpayment assistance grant of either $10,000 or six percent of the purchase price of the home, whichever is greater. In addition, the Bush Administration is committed to reforming the homebuying process that would lower closing costs by approximately $700 per loan, further stimulating homeownership for all Americans.


          1. He signed it into law, but he didn’t propose it or pass it in either house. Team Blue managed to do that. He was just too big a pussy to veto it.

            1. LMAO!!

              Poor Bush! He just signed shit people put in front of him. Its not his fault!

              1. We grade retards on a curve in this country.

                1. Fortunate for you.

              2. Not what I said, shrikey. Bush is to blame as much as the shitheads on the other side of the aisle.

                Bush was a loathsome president and pushed us farther away from individual liberty than any one man since FDR. The current occupant of the white house is just continuing his work.

                1. LBJ would like a word with you sloopy

                  1. Whoops. I stand corrected.

            2. Since when were you under the impression that George W. Bush and Team Blue weren’t on the same side?

              1. Expanding access to decent employment and healthcare and torturing suspects while waging a war based on lies. Truly two sides of the same coin.

                1. Those are the only two things that they’ve done? Where have I been?

                2. Which one did which, Tony?

                  Medicare drug entitlement was a Bush initiative, Libya is Obama’s baby.

          2. that would lower closing costs by approximately $700 per loan

            and what did this dorm room/good government designed reform and additional regulation and paperwork actually do? raised closing costs by $700! unexpectedly!

        2. And on a cash basis Iraq is a trillion now.

          But Nobel winner Stiglitz says its $3 trillion on an accrual basis – I split it.

          You should thank me sometime, RC. I teach you a lot.

          1. shreik, RC was talking about Obama’s war “not being that high yet” hence the “give a brother some time” line.

            As for Iraq, its actually the total cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of the larger (and orwellian) “war on terror.” Through 2011, CBO has it as $1.3 tr, if you add current debt service for it, you’re looking at $1.325 tr. It’ll of course be higher (estimated at $1.85 tr through 2021 assuming withdrawls proceed as planned, so make it an even $2 after factoring in debt service over that period plus 10 years).

        3. Obama also voted for TARP.


        4. “(4) Bush signed TARP, Obama signed the stimulus. I’m willing to call it a tie.”

          Did not Senator Obama vote for TARP?

          I don’t understand why Obama gets a pass for things that happened under Bush that he also supported and helped put into law.

      3. …let you know as soon as I find out.

      4. 1) He’s already just as God-awful as his predecessor.

        2) Where the fuck have you ever seen me, or most anybody on this website, defending, supporting, or acting as apologists for George Bush? You’re such a fucking cunt, it’s unbelievable.

        1. I think Chad went away because people started ignoring him. Shreek deserves the same treatment. He’s been proven wrong so many times around here I’ve lost count, but he still trots out his stupid anti-Bush christfag crusade like a three year old pointing at his first big giant dump in the toilet.

          I admit that I don’t follow my own advice enough, but Shreek isn’t ever adding anything useful to these threads, and his schtick is well past its 15 minutes.

          1. Because you conservatives desire an echo chamber here.

            Where Republicans are pristine in their pursuit of small government and recent history is ignored.

            Where Bachmann is legit as a leader simply for that (R) by her name and her crazy bromides are ignored.

            Yeah – guess again.

          2. He’s also a fucking sockpuppet. When will you people get this through your thick skulls?

            1. Yeah, tell ’em Epi!

              YOU PEOPLE. Harumph.

              1. YOU people?

            2. I’d rather take my chances and rage at the fucker — if he’s really a sockpuppet, he ain’t bad

              1. He really is. His controller fucked up badly one time when trying to insult me, and said stuff that the “real” shriek would never, ever, say, let alone know.

                He’s a sockpuppet. Starve it.

                1. I think that shrike was real at first, but the ersatz Gordon Gekko routine shrike is fake.

                  The first shrike was so fucking out there as to be entertaining. This one, not so much.

                  1. Wait, I thought shrike was Ben Bernanke.

                    Is that not true?

                  2. Yeah, what is up with that, anyway? I remember Shrike use to be a funny guy, but then he added that odd routine to his schtick, and now I can’t fucking stand him.

            3. sock puppets can be entertaining; Jim Henson made a fortune with them. Chad was boring, shreek is so psycho it’s entertaining for some. It’s gone stale and boring for me, but there are new users here every day; let them have their fun.

              1. No, starve them.

                1. You seem quite the sockpuppet expert, “Episiarch”.

                  What, in your opinion, are the true beliefs, motivations, and identities of some of our most famous sockpuppets?

                  1. I don’t care.

                    1. Oh ho, I think you care too much. You try to hide it, but you’re a giver.

                    2. I have a theory that Episiarch is behind most of the Tony-spoofing, just to punish those who respond to him.


                    3. It’s funny that you think this “Episiarch” is a “person” who “comments” and isn’t a “sockpuppet”.

                    4. My head hurts.

          3. We resent those remarks.

          4. shrike actually adds content, however much that content mostly misses the point in my opinion. This goes for MNG and Tony as well, and I suspect a lot of the truly vapid Tony posts are spoofs. (WHICH IS NOT COOL BTW)

            The only lefties around here I think should be deprived of troll food are those who don’t even make arguments like Max and Orrin. There are some non-lefties who contribute little but mockery, vulgar language, and insults, but I won’t mention them lest I incite yet another donnybrook.

            1. I think I got pretty worked up last weekend by a Tony spoof. You’re right Tulpa, NOT COOL.

            2. Damn straight.

      5. Obamacare is an entitelment, shreik.

        And you aren’t the least bit capable of proving the case is otherwise.

      6. 3/10 – Limited Success

        You can do better… you know this material!

    2. This isn’t the only instanced of Obama telling a whopper about some relative.

      As I recall, he claimed an uncle of his was part of some Army unit that had liberated a German concentration camp in WW2.

      The camp was actually liberated by the Soviets.

  2. This article is racist.

    1. Needs bad exclamation points, and that badly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!11111!111!!!!111!!11one!!1!!!!!!1111eleven!1!!!1!!!1exclamation points and stuff!!11!@!!!!!!@@!@!11@@1211!!

  3. The “emotional impact” on Obama is even more ludicrous considering he couldn’t even spare time from book writing and community organizing to visit his mother when she was on her deathbed.

    1. It’s the sentiment that counts, Commodore. At least, with his supporters, that must be what counts to them, because he sure never gives them anything but sentiment. The one positive thing to come out of this administration is that the people who are the stupidest–those who trust and have positive feelings for politicians–got fucked the most. Because they really, really deserve it.

      1. …I know you don’t mean the least educated.

        1. Stupid, uneducated people deserve to get “fucked.”
          He’s a humanitarian, you see.

          1. Does your whining come naturally or is it a thinly veiled attempt to hide the fact that your mind is vapid and you are unable to contribute anything of substance?

  4. Well, he DID actually have a mother. And she DID die… that’s close enough, right?


  5. What about Bill Ayers?
    Reverend Wright?
    Saul Alinsky?

    If we are going to have our daily “Two Minutes of Hate” for President Emmanuel Goldstein, shouldn’t we recite the full incantation?

    1. But how will libertarians know who to vote for otherwise? This is definitely worthy of our time. It’s not like anything is going on in the country that has anything to do with small vs. big government that Reason could be keeping up with.

      1. Does your butt hurt, Tony? Cause it sounds like your butt hurts.

        1. You should put your ear closer to his butt so you can hear it even better.

          1. He can’t because I’m so far up it.

            1. I am the absolute height of wit on the comment boards!

              1. +10

              2. I found it humorous.

                1. +11

    2. Right wingers get Saul so very wrong. He was an anarchist who hated public bureaucracies with a passion. Doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with the pond scum.

      1. They seriously hear a vaguely Russian sounding name and that’s enough for them, provided it’s repeated by Glenn Beck often enough.

        1. “They seriously hear a vaguely Russian sounding name and that’s enough for them, provided it’s repeated by Glenn Beck often enough.”
          Gotta be a spoof; shithead isn’t *this* ignorant.

          1. You wouldn’t know ignorant if it crawled up your vagina.

            1. So shithead *is* that ignorant? I guess surprise isn’t the appropriate response.
              Oh, well………..

  6. Barack Obama… a lying, manipulative, opportunistic fuck? GETOUTTATOWN — !!!

  7. Suderman, you better be right fucking on top of the release of The Dark Knight Rises teaser trailer tomorrow. This is the THE teaser trailer of the decade, and I’m not going to have Hit & Run play motherfucking second fiddle to The Maddow Blog, you dig motherfucker?!

    1. Seconded

        1. Meh.

          Ooh look. Another superhero movie! Hollywood might as well just shut down their creative development departments.

          1. they have creative development departments? what do they do?

            1. They develop. Creatively.

              Where I live, the big trailer right now is for something called Crapstain Amerikkka.

              I always preferred Sgt Rock, the Ghost Tank, and Johnny Cloud, myself.

  8. I’d rather hear a white lie about an anecdote than just an outright lie about government and government policy, but that’s me.

    1. No reason you can’t have both.

  9. Ok boy scouts, let’s hear how perfect you all have been. I expect to see letters from your dead mothers about how mommy had to bail your asses out of jail for the third time.

    1. When I use my lies to help sell a bankrupting piece of shit health care overhaul your “point” might have some salience.

      1. He was a bad boy as soon as he got off the tit

          1. you’re not supposed to keep your url the same when you spoof someone.

            1. Most lessons are lost on the stoopid.

              1. Unlike you cowards, I admit when I’m spoofing

            2. I didn’t know NEM’s mom posted here.

            3. ie, it’s not spoofing if you’re not using another commenter’s exact name.

              1. I love that you little boys have rules that must be obeyed.

                1. What do you think this is, Somalia?

    2. I’ve never been in jail- or made up anecdotes that I don’t immediately follow with, “nah, I’m just kidding. that never happened.”

      1. Beware of the thingy called public records

    3. My eighty-year-old-still-living mother told me to stay away from cunt pickles.

      My mom dispenses good advice.

      1. That boy is just stoopid.
        I told him to stick his pickle in her cunt and now he keeps asking me if he should do only kosher

  10. The only problem with this story? It may not be strictly true.

    That’s not the only problem, and whether the story is true or a lie or somewhere in the middle is immaterial. The appeal to emotion is a fallacy of logic. It’s an age-old, sleazy political trick. Sadly, the president’s ideological opponents resort to the same kind of sophistry, disqualifying them from credible protest.

    1. It is an age-old, sleazy political trick, and on which libertarians would also engage in, given the chance.

      1. Tell you what, let’s give it a shot and see if you’re right!

      2. And libertarians wield so much political power, too!

        1. And here I’ve spent decades thinking I never want to be a politician!

      3. Did you just ‘I know you are but what am I’?

        Seriously, thats your response? That we would do it too if we had the chance?

    2. It’s not being presented as a logical argument, so it’s not a logical fallacy here. But it is cheap.

  11. In several hundred years, they’ll have legends about the one time Obama told the truth about something. But it will be bullshit.

    1. No, they’ll have legends about how he could not ever tell the truth; sort of the anti-George Washington.

      1. History is rarely that accurate.

      2. Or the time he saved America by telling the giant killer robots “I am lying” and making their electronic brains overheat processing the contradictions.

  12. OFF TOPIC(but interesting):

    What do you guys think about the Nazi Jihadist and the charges brought against him?

    1. I know what you’re thinking from that description, but, no he is NOT the love child of Michelle Bachmann and Barack Obama.

    2. You know who else had charges brought against them…

      1. Nixon?

        Really, you should check out the story, the guy’s a freak show. Although I’m not sure whether or not he should be charged with a crime.

        1. cap, I just like the IDEA of a Michele Bachmann/Lord O’Bama lovechild. I don’t want to spoil the beautiful vision I have by seeing the [undoubtedly disappointing in comparison] reality.

      2. My credit cards?

        1. Freakin’ hypocrite.

          You expect old people to eat cat food and die in the streets so we can have a balanced budget, but can’t even get your own financial house in order.

          For shame, for shame!

    3. You’re a young whippersnapper, so I have a generational question to query you with. How much respect would you lose for a calculus professor if you found out he was writing his lecture notes in a “How To Train Your Dragon” notebook with a holographic cover?

      1. I’m in the middle between my classmates and my professors and I think they’re all mostly lame. But what I do respect is someone who doesn’t give a shit what others think, so rock it and rock it unabashedly.

        1. Everyone’s mostly lame. Some of us even more so.

          I was going to tell them I found it in the trash (which is actually true) but figured that might make matters even worse.

          1. Don’t tell them anything. They pay you to teach them calculus, not to explain your notebook preferences.

            If they bitch, assign them a bunch of integrals to be solved using 500 trapezoids. They’ll never question your stationary wisdom again.

      2. Pretty near the best of my engineering profs graded all his papers with crayons.

    4. The family is blaming it all on Aspbergers… I’m pretty sure that’s the least of his problems.

  13. Insurance companies make specious decisions. Who knew?

    1. The best way to avoid the specious decisions of insurance companies that may ultimately not go your way is to not contract with them in the first place. If you don’t buy insurance, the insurance company can’t fuck you over.

      If an insurance company is being fraudulent, then we have a legal system that does an OK job of dealing with it. But if you don’t get the money you expected and it’s not because of fraud, well, you’re no different than an investor who put money into a failed investment.

      Of course it’s no surprise that the same PotUS who whines and cries about he and his mother having to take a financial loss is the same schmuck that won’t let bondholders take losses.

  14. Obama lied, and his mother died.

    I blame Bush.

  15. The president lied? I… I just don’t know what to think anymore.

  16. it’s rather/mapes redux “the story is fake, but accurate”

  17. It coulda happened.

  18. …and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies…

    It’s seared, SEARED, in his memory.

    1. Damn home-owners won’t cover cell phones.

  19. Obama is innumerate and has no clue about Bayesian probability and actuarial statistics – much less the cold hard realities of running an enterprise that can’t simply print its own money.

    1. We need to start a flerking Math Party, yo.

      1. I’ve seen math parties before, scary stuff…

    2. Obama doesn’t actually understand anything about insurance (2nd item.

  20. If you currently have pre-existing conditions like me that have prevented you from being able to qualify for health insurance for at least six months you will have coverage options under new health care. Check “Penny Health Insurance” to find how to get quality insurance for dollars.

  21. Ah, truthiness, is there nothing you can’t do?

  22. i don’t know why you guys can suddently arguring about it

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