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.

Business News

Last Update on August 19, 2014 17:11 GMT

CONSUMER PRICES

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer prices rose in July, at the slowest pace in five months.

The Labor Department says consumer prices edged up a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent last month, after larger gains of 0.3 percent in June and 0.4 percent in May.

The July price restraint came from falling gasoline prices, which had surged in June. All energy prices were down 0.3 percent and this helped offset a 0.4 percent rise in food costs, which have been pushed up by adverse weather including a drought in California.

Over the past 12 months, consumer inflation is up 2 percent while inflation excluding food and energy is up 1.9 percent. Price gains around 2 percent are considered moderate and meet the 2 percent inflation target set by the Federal Reserve.

Analysts believe overall prices will moderate further in coming months, helped by moderation in energy costs.

HOME CONSTRUCTION

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. home construction rebounded in July, rising to the fastest pace in eight months and offering hope that housing has regained momentum after two months of declines.

The Commerce Department says construction increased 15.7 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million homes. That was the fastest pace since November and followed declines of 4 percent in June and 7.4 percent in May.

Applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, also showed strength in July, advancing 8.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.05 million, after declines of 3.1 percent in June and 5.1 percent in May.

The July rebound reflected strength in single-family home construction, which rose 8.3 percent, and in apartment construction, which was up 33 percent.

EARNS-HOME DEPOT

ATLANTA (AP) -- Home Depot's fiscal second-quarter net income increased 14 percent thanks to a rebound in its spring selling season.

Spring is the biggest season for home-improvement retailers, as homeowners and others work on their yards and gardens. While the season started off a bit cold and rainy, weather improved and shoppers headed out to stores to pick up supplies.

For the three months ended Aug. 3, Home Depot Inc. earned $2.05 billion, or $1.52 per share. A year earlier it earned $1.8 billion, or $1.24 per share.

Home Depot's stock gained $2.53, or 3 percent, to $86.12 before the market open.

Revenue climbed nearly 6 percent to $23.81 billion from $22.52 billion. This beat Wall Street's forecast of $23.57 billion.

EARNS-DICK'S

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. (AP) -- Dick's Sporting Goods says its net income fell 17 percent in its fiscal second quarter, but its result still beat analysts' expectations and its shares rose in premarket trading.

The sporting goods retailer says it cut jobs in its golf business because of weaker demand for golf gear and services, but it doesn't say how many employees were let go.

The company says profit fell in the second quarter to $69.5 million from $84.2 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs, came to 67 cents per share. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 65 cents per share.

Shares of Dick's Sporting Goods rose 5.7 percent to $45.97 in premarket trading today.

EARNS-TJX

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) -- TJX says its second-quarter net income climbed 8 percent as sales strengthened in the U.S. and abroad.

The results for the parent company of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and other stores topped Wall Street's view. TJX also lifted its full-year earnings forecast, citing its better-than-expected second-quarter performance.

TJX earned $517.6 million for the period ended Aug. 2. That compares with $479.6 million a year earlier.

RECARO-CHILD SEAT RECALL

DETROIT (AP) -- Recaro is recalling more than 39,000 child safety seats because they can let a child's head move too far in a crash.

The recall covers ProSport model 385 seats made from June 16, 2010, to Jan. 31, 2013. The problem happens when the seats are installed with the lower latch anchors and without the top tether.

Recaro will notify owners and provide set of new instructions telling owners not to use the lower latch system with a child weighing 40 or more pounds. The company also will send a new instruction label for the seat.

The problem was discovered in testing by Recaro. The company says in documents sent to U.S. safety regulators that it cannot determine if the problem caused any injuries.

BRITA-RECALL

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Brita is recalling more than 242,000 children's water filter bottles because the bottle lid can break or crack, possibly causing serious cuts.

Brita has received 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking, but no injuries have been reported.

The recalled bottles are a violet bottle with Dora the Explorer, a pink bottle with Hello Kitty, a blue bottle with SpongeBob Square Pants and a green one with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Each bottle has a Brita logo and white lid. And they're 6 inches tall and hold 15 ounces of liquid.

Consumers can return the bottles for a full refund. Information is at www.brita.com .

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