Barack Obama went to Ohio yesterday "because of Natoma," he said. That would be Natoma Canfield, who was diagnosed with leukemia on Saturday and faces terribly high health care costs. The president told the Strongsville crowd: "She is racked with worry not only about her illness but about the costs of the tests and the treatment that she's surely going to need to beat it."
Strongsville is in the congressional district of Dennis Kucinich, who previously voted "no" on health care because the bill wasn't liberal enough. The president, seemingly aiming for Kucinich's vote on health care this time around, told this very personal, very touching, story about Natoma. The problem is, it wasn't the whole truth. Fox News reports:
Natoma Canfield, the cancer-stricken woman who has become a centerpiece of President Obama's push for health care reform, will not lose her home over her medical bills and will probably qualify for financial aid, a top official at the Cleveland medical center treating her told FoxNews.com.
Though Canfield's sister Connie Anderson said her sibling is afraid she'll lose her house and Obama warned at an Ohio rally Monday that the patient is "racked with worry" about the cost of tests and treatment, she is already being screened for financial help.
Lyman Sornberger, executive director of patient financial services at the Cleveland Clinic, said "all indications" at the outset are that she will be considered for assistance.
"She may be eligible for state Medicaid ... and/or she will be eligible for charity (care) of some form or type. ... In my personal opinion, she will be eligible for something," he said, adding that Canfield should not be worried about losing her home.
"Cleveland Clinic will not put a lien on her home," he said.
This manufactured outrage, of course, undermines the last part of the president's speech, when he argued that the bill should not be considered on political grounds: "I don't know about the politics, but I know what's the right thing to do," Obama told the crowd.
And if the president's trip were really about Natoma, the speech in Kucinich's district surely would not have been scheduled prior to her diagnosis of leukemia.