Procrustean one-size-fits-all edicts from the federal government make strange — and tragic — bedfellows. On Friday, The Blaze reported that a cancer patient who had publicly stated that his health coverage was canceled because of Obamacare now says he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. A second report today from media watchdog Western Center for Journalism notes that two Texas children, a brother and sister born with a deadly form of cancer, have also been denied coverage, leaving their parents to grapple with Herculean medical bills.
The IRS audit of the adult, Bill Elliott, could be pure coincidence. Elliott was a guest on Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” earlier this month (video below) and said he was told by his insurer that his cancer was considered “beyond a catastrophic pre-existing condition” and that his plan was being canceled because of new regulations.
He said he was given the option of a new $1,500-per-month plan, up from the $180 per month or so that he’d been paying. Elliott told Fox’s Megyn Kelly that he had decided he wasn’t going to pay for the new expensive plan, and was instead going to take the financial penalty and ‘let nature take its course.’
Since then, the second shoe has dropped. Elliott received a certified letter from the IRS advising him that the tax agency is auditing his books from 2009. Appearing on “Rocky D” on Charleston, S.C.’s WQSC, Elliott says he didn’t own a business at that time, and in fact was working for the government. He said he’s paid his taxes every year and is not any kind of a tax evader.
In the case of Ron and Krista Alford, learning that both their children were born with Plexiform Hishocyne Neoplasm was tragedy enough. But those horrors were compounded when they learned recently that their 7-year-old son Hunter was being dropped by Texas’ state-run Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). His older Makayla has also battled the rare cancer but is currently in remission.
According to CBS affiliate KXII, Hunter was enrolled in CHIP for the last year and a half. Under the program, families pay no more $50 per year for basic insurance coverage. Unlike Medicaid, CHIP requires families to pay substantial amounts of money for prescriptions and co-pays when they visit the doctor. Nevertheless, the money the Alfords are able to save through the program is the difference between life and death for their children.
Now that the program has been terminated, the Alfords face chemotherapy treatments of up to $50,000 each for Hunter.
KXII attempts to shift the blame for the drop in coverage away from Obamacare, noting that the lapse has been explained as a “glitch” (where have we heard that term recently?) within CHIP itself, but CHIP and the Affordable Care Act are inextricably wound, as this House document reveals. Even as left-leaning a news source as the Huffington Post acknowledges that CHIP and the ACA are joined at the hip, complaining in September that a GOP-led measure to defund Obamacare would also gut CHIP, which was reauthorized and funded through 2015 through the ACA.