One of Obama's Emotional Arguments for Obama-Care Proven Wrong in NYT Staffer's New Book

It took a reporter on Keller-dreaded book leave to reel in the story - but the Times has a scoop that reflects badly on Barack Obama and how he misled people in his campaign for Obama-care: 'Book Challenges Obama on Mother's Deathbed Fight.' Health reporter Kevin Sack wrote about the revelation from 'A Singular Woman,' Times reporter Janny Scott's recent book about Obama's mother Ann Dunham.

The White House on Wednesday declined to challenge an account in a new book that suggests that President Obama, in his campaign to overhaul American health care, mischaracterized a central anecdote about his mother's deathbed dispute with her insurance company.

During his presidential campaign and subsequent battle over a health care law, Mr. Obama quieted crowds with the story of his mother's fight with her insurer over whether her cancer was a pre-existing condition that disqualified her from coverage.

In offering the story as an argument for ending pre-existing condition exclusions by health insurers, the president left the clear impression that his mother's fight was over health benefits for medical expenses.

But in 'A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother,' author Janny Scott quotes from correspondence from the president's mother to assert that the 1995 dispute concerned a Cigna disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer had apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument.


The book concludes that although Mr. Obama often suggested that Ms. Dunham 'was denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition, it appears from her correspondence that she was only denied disability coverage.' Ms. Dunham, an anthropologist who worked on development projects in Indonesia, died in 1995, less than a year after her diagnosis.

Sack recounted Obama's use of 'several rhetorical formulations to relate the anecdote' during the campaign and during his battle to pass health-care legislation.