Lie, Cheat and Steal, what ever it takes, eh Obama?… Obama's Real-Person Health Care Story Not That Real Lynn Sweet Posted: 09/18/09 President Obama -- like presidents before him -- loves a good vignette. White House speechwriters are all about a narrative and the Obama crew, especially, is all about the story. If a tale doesn't pass muster, well, who'll be the wiser? And yet, facts do matter. Presidents attempt to persuade their countrymen to support policies based on heart-wrenching stories of human suffering. But when that anecdotal evidence is shown to be bogus, or exaggerated, it can undermine the chief executive's point -- and, perhaps, his policies. After I raised questions about its accuracy, President Obama has dropped from his last two health care speeches an inaccurate reference he made about the health care travails of an Illinois man, whom Obama claimed had died after his insurance company declined to pay for his cancer treatments. When Obama spoke to Congress about health care reform on Sept. 9, he attempted to put a human face on his push for a provision barring insurance companies from dropping patients with pre-existing medical conditions. While not citing the person's name, the president said: "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." It's just not true, which I pointed out in my Chicago Sun-Times column. I confirmed with the White House that the man Obama was referring to was Otto Raddatz, from a Chicago suburb. His insurance company did indeed yank his coverage in April 2005. But after a fight led by his sister, Peggy, an attorney and the Illinois attorney general, Raddatz got his coverage reinstated in a few weeks and never missed any needed treatments. And he did not die until Jan. 6, 2009. I raised questions about the Obama claim with the White House on Sept 10. The White House told me that Obama's speechwriters picked up the story from Slate and never vetted the facts independently. If they had, they would have realized that the Slate report was erroneous. Presidents need everyday Americans as examples to bolster their initiatives, of course, and in a speech at the University of Maryland on Thursday Obama continued to cite real examples of people being mistreated by insurance companies. He did the same at a rally last Saturday in Minnesota. But he's no longing looking to the late Otto Raddatz to help him make his case. --- Great Work!... peace... You need a link to this.