Anti-Obamacare ad stirs controversy

Updated: Friday, February 28, 2014
Anti-Obamacare ad stirs controversy story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Politics is not for the faint-hearted. Now, a Dexter woman who has become a cause célèbre in the ongoing battle against the Affordable Care Act is finding that out.

As a spokesperson for a million-dollar campaign against both the Affordable Care Act and likely Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Gary Peters, Julie Boonstra has found herself in the middle of what's become a national storm of controversy.

Tonight, in Tom's Corner, our Tom Van Howe says the whole problem could be remedied if the ad was simply taken out of circulation.

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At first blush, the commercial is devastating.

Here's an attractive, obviously well-spoken woman implying that the Affordable Care Act is so unaffordable that she'd not be able to afford her meds to fight leukemia.

The essence of it is that Obamacare is going to kill her.

"Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high," she said, "it's unaffordable. If I do not receive my medication, I will die."

Whether you're against national healthcare or not, it's the kind of TV spot that can make you cough your coffee right up through your nose.

The average response is "Whoa," "Really?" "My God, this is horrible!"

And that's exactly how the right wing political  action group Americans for Prosperity, funded in part, by the renowned  Koch brothers, wants us to react.

It was an emotional, seemingly unimpeachable, and  searing indictment of Obamacare. What could be worse?

The plan is killing people?

Well, under a brighter light, things are often not what they appear to be. And we have  fact-checkers to thank for that illumination.

In this case, it was Glenn Kessler, of the Washington Post. Not any tricky or back-door journalism. He simply called her up.

Without going into all the numbers, he found that Obamacare had, indeed,  forced her out of her $1,300  per month policy--one that had been taking care of all her out-of-pocket expenses.

Her new plan, however, reduced her monthly expense almost by half--to $571, and capped her out-of-pocket expenses at a little over $6,000. When you add it all up, the difference between then and now is two dollars a year.

That's it. That's all.

My own observation is that Julie was a little confused, and Americans for Prosperity took advantage of her.

Certainly they knew the details even if she didn't.

The ad campaign is now discredited. It ought to be pulled. But AFP knows that a lot of people will keep right on believing.

And TV stations will  keep right on taking  the ad money.

But it would be nice if one of the stations in this state simply said, "your commercial is misleading and inflammatory and we're not going to air it anymore."

Wishful thinking, but it would be nice.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

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Last Update on July 07, 2015 07:36 GMT

GREECE-BAILOUT

PARIS (AP) -- Eurozone nations will hold an emergency summit today to discuss how to proceed following the `no' result in Greece's bailout referendum.

In the meantime, Germany's EU commissioner says he's optimistic that a new Greek finance minister and opposition parties' backing for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (TSEE'-prahs) could smooth negotiations between Athens and its European creditors.

Greece's polarizing finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned Monday and was replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos. Three opposition parties offered backing for Tsipras in the bailout negotiations.

Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Deutschlandfunk radio Tuesday that Tsakalotos "doesn't have the same attitude as his predecessor. He knows the figures, the facts, he knows our reform proposals ... and he knows that we are flexible."

German officials insist that, even after its voters rejected more austerity in a referendum, Greece must accept conditions for any new aid.

Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel said "time is of the essence," after discussing the Greek crisis with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. She said that Greece must advance proposals to the table this week.

Greece's banks are facing the risk of collapse within days unless a rescue deal is reached. The European Central Bank maintained its level of cash assistance to Greek banks ahead of today's emergency meeting.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A few economic reports are due out from the federal government later this morning. The Commerce Department will release international trade data for May and the Labor Department will release its job openings and labor turnover survey for the same month. This afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases May consumer credit data.

ECONOMY-SERVICES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. service firms grew at a slightly faster pace in June, as business activity and new orders increased.

The Institute for Supply Management says its services index edged up to 56 in June from 55.7 in May. Any reading over 50 indicates that services firms are expanding.

Steady hiring over the past year has fueled a consumer spending rebound from a winter slump. Many economists say the economy will expand at an annual rate of 2.5 per cent in the second quarter, after shrinking during the first three months of 2015.

Still, the index's hiring component slipped in June to 52.7 from 55.3 in May, which indicates that the rate of job growth might slow.

The report corresponds with economic growth of around 3 percent annually in the second quarter, Lee said.

SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG-ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Samsung Electronics Co. forecasts its second-quarter profit has dropped 4 percent from a year earlier.

The maker of Galaxy smartphones said in its earnings preview Tuesday that its April-June operating profit was 6.9 trillion won ($6.1 billion). The consensus among analysts was 7.23 trillion won, according to financial data provider FactSet.

Samsung said sales fell 8 percent over a year earlier to 48 trillion won. The company is scheduled to disclose its net profit and breakdown figures among its business divisions later this month.

The announcement shows that recovery at Samsung's smartphone division was not as strong as expected.

Analysts have lowered profit forecasts on Samsung in recent weeks, citing the weaker-than-expected sales of its flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which went on sale in April.

US-STARBUCKS-PRICE-HIKE

NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks says it's hiking prices again starting today, with the increases ranging from 5 to 20 cents for most affected drinks.

The Seattle-based company also raised prices nationally about a year ago.

The company says that a small and large brewed coffee will each go up by 10 cents in most areas of the country. That would bring the price of a large coffee to $2.45 in most U.S. stores.

Some other coffee sellers are cutting prices. Last week, The J.M. Smucker Co. said it would cut prices for most of its coffee products because of declines in future prices for unroasted coffee beans. In an emailed statement yesterday, Starbucks Corp. said coffee costs are only part of its expenses, which also include rent, labor, marketing and equipment.

US-SURVEYMONKEY-SANDBERG

Sheryl Sandberg joins SurveyMonkey board of directors

UNDTED ( AP) -- SurveyMonkey will add two new members to its board of directors, including Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

Sandberg is the widow of David Goldberg, who was CEO at SurveyMonkey from 2009 until he died in an accident while exercising in May.

The Palo Alto, California, company said Monday its other new director is David Ebersman, the CEO of Lyra Health and former chief financial officer at Facebook.

SurveyMonkey, which operates an online survey platform, also said Zander Lurie, its acting executive chairman, will take on the role on a permanent basis.

WAL-MART-ARMORED CAR HEIST

BRISTOW, Okla. (AP) -- Investigators say they have no suspects in the theft of $75,000 from an Oklahoma Wal-Mart by a man disguised as an armored truck driver.

Authorities say the suspect entered the Wal-Mart store in Bristow about 10:30 a.m. Saturday dressed similarly to a Loomis armored transport employee. The suspect strolled to the cash office, signed for the deposit and walked out of the store.

Wal-Mart employees called police after the real Loomis employee arrived about 45 minutes later. Bristow is about 35 miles southeast of Tulsa.

Bristow Police Chief Wayne Williams said Monday investigators have not identified the suspect whose image was captured by a video surveillance camera. Williams says officials don't believe the suspect lives in the area.

Williams says Wal-Mart has alerted its other stores about the theft.

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