All About the Woman Whose Life Was Ruined by Obamacare and Had No Choice but to Appear in a…

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 31 2014 5:50 PM

All About the Woman Whose Life Was Ruined by Obamacare and Had No Choice but to Appear in a TV Ad

Earlier today I congratulated the well-funded educators at Americans for Prosperity for an ad campaign that attacked the Affordable Care Act by telling the sad story of a woman who'd lost her coverage. But I forgot about the backstory. "Emilie," the lupus sufferer featured in the ad, is a Tennesseean named Emilie Lamb. Eleven days before the ad started running, Lamb was name-checked by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, as a victim of the Affordable Care Act's lie-filled blundering.

Blackburn invited Lamb to the State of the Union, sharing her story with any reporter who felt like listening.

Since 2006 Emilie received health insurance through CoverTN, which provided her with the affordable care she required for the numerous Emergency Room visits and surgeries she has had to endure to treat her chronic illness. Left without any other choice, Emilie signed up for Obamacare and as a result her monthly insurance premiums increased by 700 percent. 
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Lamb didn't have private insurance per se. She was on a Tennessee-sponsored health care program that covered 16,000 people, canceled last year because it "had a $25,000 annual limit on benefits" and "the federal health law does not allow yearly expenditure caps." The state applied for a waiver, and didn't get it, but nor did it consider accepting the expansion of Medicaid. (Since 2011, the state's been run completely by Republicans.)

It's a somewhat complicated story. Less complicated is the story Brian Beutler highlights here, focusing on the week's other famous Obamacare victim: "Bette," the screwed-over Washingtonian cited in the Republican response to the State of the Union.

The reason she didn’t visit the Washington state health exchange was basically #OBUMMER. “I wouldn’t go on that Obama website at all,” she said. This didn’t start with her cancelation. This started years ago. Republicans told Bette, and others inclined to distrust Obamacare, that they’d face death panels and rationing boards. That their options would be unaffordable, and irredeemable. That the exchange sites would make their personal information vulnerable to hackers and that creepy Uncle Sam would sexually violate them. They said all this in the hope that people like Bette wouldn’t give the law a fair shake, then turned around and feigned outrage on their behalf when the plan worked.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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