New York Times and Obama can’t seem to come up with examples of bad US health care

It’s not that they are not trying really hard to find examples to exploit. President Obama and the New York Times are fond of pointing out specific problems with health care in the United States. The problem is we never get the full story, only half-truths and a good dose of propaganda.

First off, there are certainly families and individuals who have – and currently have – problems navigating the health care system, finding good physicians and paying hospital bills. No argument there. But remember one important thing, when you hear Obama and the left wing media machine tell us dramatic stories of despair. Health insurance companies, hospitals and health care providers can not respond or defend themselves due to federal privacy regulations including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

On Sept. 9, 2009, Obama told us the story of Otto Raddatz who lost his health insurance and died.

One man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it.

Not exactly the full story. Raddatz was diagnosed with cancer in Sept. 2004 at the age of 59 and he began treatment. Three months later he was scheduled for a stem cell transplant, and about three months after that Raddatz started having issues with his insurance company who claimed he failed to disclose two previous conditions.

Within three weeks Raddatz had his insurance back and got his transplant which extended his life three-and-a-half years. He passed away in Jan. 2009 and Peggy Raddatz testified in June that the transplant was “extremely successful.”

In the same speech, Obama cites the story of Robin Lynn Beaton, who had her coverage rescinded right before breast cancer surgery because she did not disclose a case of acne to the insurer when she signed up for the plan.

Yup, Beaton’s coverage was rescinded right before her surgery but it was because she did not report a previous heart condition and she fudged a few other questions on her enrollment application. Beaton complained to the insurance company, got some help from a politician and the insurance company restored coverage and she got her surgery 10 weeks after the originally scheduled date.

Questions… Why does the Obama administration feel the need to make up facts – or not due any due-diligence on the stories they use as propaganda – to sell the idea of more government involvement in health care? Second, look me in the eye and tell me none of these problems would occur with a government option or more federal involvement in health care.

If you think that is the case, you are delusional!

Michelle Malkin covers the crappy journalism from Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist Nick Kristof in his op-ed piece on Sunday titled Are We Going to Let John Die? At least it’s an op-ed piece, but I consider Pulitzer and Nobel prizes just below the local Little League championship trophy when it comes to prestige these days.

Read through the column and you won’t find a single doctor, hospital official, or Oregon Medicaid official quoted. Did Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kristof bother to try and confirm Brodniak’s medical condition with another source. Nope…

Remember, physicians and other health care professionals who treated John certainly could not speak due to HIPAA regulations anyway, but later today, Malkin noted some interesting information in the comments section of Kristof’s piece.

In all due respect, this patient did not come see me. If he had and needed care he would get it. Cavernous hemangiomas have a low bleed rate and are only excised if surgery is low risk. They rarely result in a catastrophic bleed. I have many paitients that are observed with cavernomas rather than surgically excised. Others undergo craniotomy for resection. I suspect this journalist is bending the facts because he has an agenda. The gentleman with the cavernoma is welcome to call my office and I will see him. I would ask that the writers of the New York Times write factual editorials rather than sensationalizing a story. You are not being helpful.

Johnny Delashaw
Professor of Neurological Surgery
Oregon Health Sciences University
Portland Oregon

I don’t understand why Mr. Brodiak was not directed by an Oregon Health Plan (OHP) caseworker to a hospital that accepts OHP covered patients. I am surprised that Mr. Brodniak could not have surgery at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) which is the major research hospital in Portland, and I believe it accepts patients with Oregon Health Plan (OHP) insurance under CareOregon. It seems unlikely that they don’t have a salaried neurosurgeon on staff and that this prestigious hospital would not accept this patient? If this is the case, the hospital and physicians should be investigated by OHP.

Have you contacted OHP to determine if ANY neurosurgeons in Oregon see and treat OHP patients? Please contact OHSU and verify that they could not or would not treat Mr. Brodniak. Please write a follow-up article and clarify this situation.

Article says: “With John unable to work, he lost his job — and his insurance coverage. Esther had insurance for herself and for her two children (from a previous marriage) through her job building manufactured homes. But she couldn’t add John to her plan because of his pre-existing condition.”

This is false. The HIPAA Act of 1996, signed by Pres. Clinton, PROHIBITS precisely this type of “pre-existing condition exclusion.” John losing his job is what the law defines as a “qualifying life event,” at which point his wife could have added him to her plan within 30 days of the event WITHOUT any exclusion whatsoever.

This article is just plan wrong — NONE of this had to happen to John, without ANY “health reform.”

And by the way, if this health reform passes, John will be hit with a huge tax penalty, since he can’t afford insurance. And if he can’t pay the penalty, he could go to jail.
— Robert A. Book

Malkin wonders out loud if Kristof will follow up on some of the comments posted and maybe do some actual work instead of taking stories for granted if they fit the narrative, and then closes with…

Long on emotionalism. Short on facts. When you’re the Fishwrap of Record, that’s not crap. It’s Pulitzer Prize-level journalism.Long on emotionalism. Short on facts. When you’re the Fishwrap of Record, that’s not crap. It’s Pulitzer Prize-level journalism.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on November 30, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Lies, half truths and omissions.  Why with credentials like this (his only viable ones), he could write for the New York Times!


    Maybe Obama and the Obamaroids could hire those shamed CRU global warming "scientists" to fabricate some atrocious medical stories out of whole cloth.

  2. feral on December 8, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    While it is true most people who have cavernomas do not die from them as the studies have shone like Dr. Johnny Delashaw has brought up. Many out there do. I myself was one who came very close to such an event after a major problem with one. I was luck enough to have made it through but many other do not. Yet after surgary I have now found that mine cavernoma have come back and there are two other there. I myself suffer ever day with extream pain in my head as well along with other events, but i did have insurance atthe time. yet i too worry every day with the over rated high cost of the medications i take just too keep the effects of the surgary at bay at some point that life time amount will be gone. I think that there are thoses out there that painted a very simple picture of a very complex problem.  People who need help should beable to get it.

    When a head injuy like this acours you loose you ablitlys to do things, like in my case spell, drive, read write,think. you some times can not work a system made so comple that even the most educated lawyers can not figure out. There are people out there who need help, so let try as best we can as a people to do so.

    • brianh on December 10, 2009 at 10:12 am

      Dear feral,

      I'm sorry for your pain & suffering. I have some idea what it's like myself. I also know how difficult, time consuming, and exacerbating it can be to work with insurance companies, though I've always found a way to get my due.

      Clearly, further gov't involvement in health care would not have helped the man in Oregon discussed above, though. It's well documented that he already had several options available to him. Maybe he needed a family member/friend to help him exercise his options due to his condition, but waiting for the gov't to solve his problem would clearly be suicidal.

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