“Barack had to sit at the end of his mom’s hospital bed and watch her fight cancer and insurance companies at the same time,” Biden said.
The first lady added to the story, observing from the podium that
“watching your mother die of something that could have been prevented —
that’s a tough thing to deal with.”
“When my mother got cancer,” the president echoed during a video
played inside the Time Warner Cable Arena before his entrance, ”she
wasn’t a wealthy woman and it pretty much drained all her resources.”
But in 2004, the president told the Chicago Sun-Times that he wasn’t present during his mother’s final days at all.
The story Democratic convention-goers heard in Charlotte, N.C.,
however, was not intended as a tragic remembrance, but to convey the
tragedy of suffering in a hospital without health insurance.
This narrative, too, is contradicted by history: Stanley Ann Dunham,
the president’s late mother, did have health insurance to cover her
uterine and ovarian cancer, through her job with Development
Alternatives Inc. of Bethesda, Md.
“Ann’s compensation for her job in Jakarta had included health
insurance, which covered most of the costs of her medical treatment,”
according to Dunham’s biographer, New York Times journalist Janny Scott.
“Once she was back in Hawaii, the hospital billed her insurance company directly."