EDITORIAL: Cornered by Obamacare

Democrats who voted for the scheme can run, but they can’t hide

Like a cornered animal, Democrats threatened by Obamacare are turning vicious. One Democratic congressman, now running for the U.S. Senate, last week threatened to use a federal agency to drive a television station out of business if it allowed a cancer patient to share her story of how Obamacare took away her insurance.

Julie Boonstra of Dexter, Mich., was diagnosed with leukemia and was told that she had a 20 percent chance of surviving for five years. She beat those odds, thanks to a trusted doctor and a private health care plan that covered the cost of expensive chemotherapy medication, which she must continue to take daily. Because this insurance policy did not meet the standards of President Obama’s health care bureaucrats, she, like 5 million other Americans, struggles to find a policy she can afford, like the insurance she was told she could keep.

Ms. Boonstra tried desperately to use Michigan’s version of Healthcare.gov to find a suitable replacement. Instead, she experienced a nightmare of website errors and glitches. When she finally reached a human voice at the state exchange in mid-December, she was told there was a two-week waiting period, forcing her to pay $4,100 out of pocket for her medication until she could find a suitable new plan. The Obamacare plan she could afford was not nearly as good as the one she had, and the out-of-pocket expenses make the policy unaffordable.

It’s a compelling story, and one that Americans for Prosperity reduced to a 60-second television commercial and broadcast in the district of Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat. “If I do not receive my medication,” says Ms. Boonstra, “I will die … . Congressman Peters, your decision to vote for Obamacare jeopardized my health.”

Mr. Peters and the Democrats called Ms. Boonstra a liar. Mr. Peters threatened to use the Federal Communications Commission to withdraw the license of any broadcast outlet that runs the commercial. A letter to station managers said allowing Ms. Boonstra to tell her story on the air could be “cause for the loss of a station’s license.”

Bullying women is neither decent nor good politics, as voters are likely to teach Mr. Peters come November, especially since Terri Lynn Land, a Republican former secretary of state, is expected to be the candidate against Mr. Peters. They’re running for the seat of Sen. Carl Levin, who is retiring. The Democratic tactical error was going after a survivor like Ms. Boonstra, who isn’t backing down. Over the weekend, she led a protest at Mr. Peters‘ estate in a fashionable Detroit suburb.

Stories such as this are likely to multiply in the days and weeks ahead. The Denver Post tells the story of Matt Leising, a 29-year-old Colorado resident who once numbered himself among the enthusiastic backers of Obamacare. He was spending $3,600 a year on asthma medication, so he assumed that the Affordable Care Act would make his treatment more affordable. It didn’t. He can’t afford any of the Obamacare plans offered by the Colorado exchange; the family plan with the lowest monthly premium carries a deductible of $10,000 a year. He will have to pay for his medication out of his own pocket.

Democrats can try to run from the Obamacare horror stories, but they can’t hide. Unless the party agrees to mend the broken promises, they’re likely to find that their challengers won’t back down.

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