A Dexter, MI. woman was featured last month in a conservative group’s TV ads with an emotional appeal against Gary Peters for supporting the Affordable Care Act. The cancer patient had been diagnosed with leukemia five years ago and claims that she can no longer afford her costly life-saving medications because her old healthcare plan was taken away from her. The ads, however, are misleading because the cancer patient apparently jumped the gun before fully understanding her coverage.
Julie Boonstra is a 49-year-old Michigan resident who is featured in the ads sponsored by Americans for Prosperity. The ads attack U.S. Rep. Gary Peters for supporting ObamaCare, which she claims has made it “unaffordable” for her to get her life-saving medications. She relies on oral chemotherapy for cancer treatment. “If I do not receive my medication, I will die,” she said in the TV ads.
On Monday, the cancer patient revealed which plan she chose under the new health care law. She chose the Blue Cross Premiere Gold plan, which has a lower out-of-pocket expense than the government’s maximum amount of $6,350. Comparatively, Boonstra will save $1,200 per year.
She previously told The Detroit News that she paid $1,000 per month in premiums with her old healthcare plan. The annual total of $13,200 did not include prescription drugs or co-pays, however. Under the new plan, she is expected to pay $571 per month, for an annual total of $6,852, thus creating a savings for her. Therefore, some people feel that her account of the TV ads were misleading.
When confronted with the details of how she is actually benefiting under the new plan, she could not comprehend it. “I personally do not believe it,” she said.
Her biggest issue is having to pay for costly medications to treat her leukemia, but a representative from Blue Cross Premiere claims that all of Boonstra’s prescriptions are, in fact, covered under her new healthcare plan. This again, leads people to believe the ad campaign against Peters is misleading.
If Boonstra’s name sounds familiar, it is because she also has political ties. Her ex-husband is Mark Boonstra is the former Washington County GOP Chairman who was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. She claims that aside from fighting to lower the cost of oral chemotherapy, she has not had any political involvement.
According to Glenn Kessler, a fact checker at The Washington Post, she appears to be more “annoyed” by having lost her old plan and having to sign up for a new one under the Affordable Care Act. He states that she jumped the gun by appearing in the TV ads and claiming the new plan is “unaffordable” when she does not have the numbers, or the understanding, to back it up.
A debate between Americans for Prosperity and Peters has ensued. Despite believing that the ads are misleading and false, Peters said, “Any charge that out campaigns tried to silence her are absolutely inaccurate.” Levi Russel, a spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity, backs up the cancer patients claims. He said that under her old plan, she was able to predict her monthly insurance costs, but that is not the case with her new healthcare plan, which could hit her with high fees right off the bat. They also responded by putting the cancer patient in more TV ads against Peters and ObamaCare.
By Tracy Rose