Despite our political and philosophical differences, one of the most touching and humanizing aspects of Barack Obama was his mother’s tragic death of uterine and ovarian cancer in 1995. Obama frequently stated his self-employed mother spent her last days frantic, desperately trying to assure the insurance industry would not deny her coverage, instead of resting and preparing to meet her Maker (Whom she apparently did not believe in). As it turns out, the entire story was, at best, greatly exaggerated and at worst calculated fabrication. Unlike so many of the president’s scandals, this lie has been reported not simply in conservative outlets like The Washington Examiner and The Blaze but in major Establishment media sources like Politico, and the New York Times.
Candidate Obama took little shame in cashing in on his dead mother’s lingering illness on the campaign trail. Byron York collected a few examples:
“I remember in the last month of her life, she wasn’t thinking about how to get well, she wasn’t thinking about coming to terms with her own mortality, she was thinking about whether or not insurance was going to cover the medical bills and whether our family would be bankrupt as a consequence,” Obama said in September 2007.
“She was in her hospital room looking at insurance forms because the insurance company said that maybe she had a pre-existing condition and maybe they wouldn’t have to reimburse her for her medical bills,” Obama added in January 2008.
“The insurance companies were saying, ‘Maybe there’s a pre-existing condition and we don’t have to pay your medical bills,’” Obama said in a debate with Republican opponent Sen. John McCain in October 2008.
It turns out, like much of what Obama says, this is a lie. The truth is embedded in New York Times reporter Janny Scott’s glowing biography of Stanley Ann Dunham entitled, A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother.
In fact, in the months before her death Dunham worked for Development Alternatives, itself under contract to the Indonesian government, which furnished her with health insurance, a housing allowance, and transportation. After an appendectomy failed to relieve her pain, she decided to fly from Jakarta, Indonesia, first to New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center then to Honolulu for treatment. Her boss told her: “You’ve got health insurance, that’s taken care of. We can cover the airfare.” Scott writes, “the hospital billed her insurance company directly, leaving Ann to pay only the deductible and any uncovered expenses, which, she said, came to several hundred dollars a month.”
However, CIGNA refused her claim for disability insurance to cover her deductible and the remainder of her medical bills and living costs, arguing she had a pre-existing condition when she took the job in Indonesia.
When confronted, Obama spokesman Nick Papas repeated the misleading claim that Dunham “was refused coverage.”
If the remaining health bills covered “several hundred dollars a month,” it seems unlikely his mother was wondering “whether our family would be bankrupt as a consequence.” It is shameless enough to exploit one’s dead mother for political gain; it is worse yet to lie about her in the process.