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 October 20, 2014 07:27 GMT

BUSINESS SURVEY

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new business survey finds hiring is healthy but pay raises, not so much.

The quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economics finds that only 24 percent of companies increased wages and salaries in the July-September quarter. That's down from 43 percent in the April-June quarter and the first drop after three straight increases.

Yet the firms still added jobs at a healthy pace, which usually pushes wages higher as employers compete for workers. The figures suggest that the number of people out of work remains high enough that companies aren't under any pressure to raise pay.

And just one-third of respondents said they expect their companies will boost wages in the October-December quarter.

The NABE surveyed 76 of its member economists in late September

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

UNDATED (AP) -- Investors will have many more corporate earnings reports to look at this week.

Apple will report third quarter financial results today after the market closes.

Tomorrow, Coca-Cola, Reynolds American, Verizon Communications and McDonald's will report earnings before the market opens. Discover Financial Services and Yahoo will report results after the closing bell.

Also on Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors will release existing home sales for September.

SPRINT LAYOFFS

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) -- Sprint Corp. has cut 452 jobs from its Overland Park, Kansas, headquarters as part of a previously announced cost-cutting effort.

The nation's third-biggest cellphone carrier disclosed the layoffs in a filing with the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The report, which was filed Friday, covers the first installment of layoffs planned throughout October. The Kansas City Star reports that it doesn't cover any job losses outside the headquarters campus, although they are believed to be happening too.

The company said earlier this month in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was cutting an unspecified number of jobs to better compete with AT&T and Verizon. Sprint said it would book a $160 million charge in its fiscal second quarter to cover the layoffs, which include managers as well as other employees. It may take more charges for future job cuts.

Another 477 Sprint employees in Overland Park were laid off earlier this year, bringing this year's job cut total to 929

Before the newly disclosed layoffs, about 7,500 worked for Sprint in the Kansas City area.

BOX OFFICE

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The bloody World War II drama "Fury" blew past "Gone Girl" at theaters this weekend.

"Gone Girl" was tops at the box office for two weeks before Brad Pitt and his rag-tag group of tank mates in "Fury" blasted the film to second place.

According to studio estimates Sunday, Sony's "Fury" captured $23.5 million in ticket sales during its opening weekend. Fox's "Gone Girl" followed with $17.8 million.

Two other new movies landed in the top five: The animated Fox feature "The Book of Life" opened in third place with $17 million; and Relativity's Nicholas Sparks romance "The Best of Me" debuted in fifth place with $10.2 million.

Disney's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" placed fourth, dropping one spot since opening last weekend.

JAPAN-TRADE MINISTER RESIGNS

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's trade minister has announced her resignation after allegations that she violated election laws.

Yuko Obuchi's resignation on Monday is the first for the current administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and could dent his efforts to raise the profile of women both in politics and business.

The questions over Obuchi's use of election funds are the latest in a series of uproars over activities by some members of Abe's Cabinet. Obuchi is one of five women Abe appointed to Cabinet-level posts in a reshuffle last month that highlighted his commitment to promoting women to leadership positions.

GERMANY-ECONOMY

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's finance minister says he's confident he can keep promises to balance the budget next year and is rejecting anew suggestions that the country should borrow to finance greater public investment.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is determined to stick to plans to get by without new borrowing next year for the first time since 1969, though Germany's growth outlook has weakened and Berlin faces calls from abroad to pump money into the economy.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble acknowledged in Sunday's Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Germany "must invest more and improve our competitiveness." But he added: "We just don't want growth on credit."

Schaeuble said it's important to keep to promises and says he's confident a balanced budget can be achieved because "tax income doesn't react so quickly to economic changes."

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