Ann Coulter lit up the anti-Obamacare brigade with her claim that "Obamacare killed her friend's sister" over the weekend.
Coulter said the friend’s sister was kicked off her insurance when Blue Shield pulled out of California, put off going to emergency room despite having a fever because she didn’t have insurance, until she went into septic shock on Thursday. Over the weekend, the friend passed away.
I'm very sorry for her friend's tragic loss. Truly. But something just isn't right about the story as she tells it, beginning with her claim that she was "kicked off her insurance."
Blue Shield didn't pull out of California. In fact, Blue Shield is one of the three companies offering insurance on Covered California, the state health insurance exchange. Not only that, but back when President Obama allowed insurers to extend the end dates for policies they intended to cancel, Blue Shield chose to extend the date to March 31st for cancellation to ensure there would be no discontinuance or disruption for those folks who "liked their policies".
I don't know the specific circumstances of her friend's sister's health insurance situation, but I do know that Blue Shield is actively issuing policies in this state. So what could have actually happened?
What if that friend's sister believed all the spew from Fox News about the federal exchange and decided, like others have, that they're not going to even investigate "that Obamacare site?" What if she allowed her Blue Shield policy to lapse, and didn't replace it with any other coverage, when she clearly had options available to her on the exchange or through individually underwritten policies?
It sounds to me like that friend's sister made a deliberate decision to delay seeking treatment for what turned out to be a life-threatening situation, and unfortunately, that decision carried a price that was too high. Does Coulter perhaps understand how many people with pre-existing conditions or unaffordable rates were faced with the same decision BEFORE the Affordable Care Act?
There is no scenario that I can conjure up that would explain why this woman was uninsured after January 1st -- unless she chose to exercise her right not to be insured.
If that's the case, the right headline for this story would be: "Fox News Killed My Friend's Sister."