Oops, Clinton Did It Again: Facts Questioned
There could be some truth to the story about the pregnant woman as some facts have come to light today.
Clinton said she heard the story from Meigs County Deputy Sheriff Bryan Holman during a visit to Pomeroy, before the March 4 Ohio primary.
In a March 26 phone interview with The Associated Press, Holman said he had told Clinton the story in essentially the same way she was retelling it in her speeches. He said he knew the Bachtel story only second hand, and lacked several details.
The AP then spoke with Bachtel's aunt, Susie Casto of Middleport, who helped raise the woman. She said Bachtel, who worked at a pizza parlor, did in fact have health insurance when she and her baby died.
But at an earlier time, Casto said, Bachtel lacked health insurance and ran up unpaid bills when treated at a clinic near her home in Middleport. When she returned for treatment when pregnant, the clinic demanded $100 per visit to help retire the outstanding debt, Casto said. Because Bachtel could not afford the fees and found it difficult to travel, her aunt said, she postponed receiving treatment.
Bachtel eventually went to O'Bleness, about 30 miles to the north, for attention.
Casto declined to name the clinics or hospitals involved, and said she felt medical professionals did all they could to save Bachtel and her unborn child.
Pomeroy has about 2,000 residents and two medical clinics. One is affiliated with O'Bleness, the other is the Holzer Clinic, part of a nine-facility chain.
O'Bleness Health System spokeswoman Lynn Anastos said Monday that Bachtel was not a patient at their Pomeroy facility and "she would not have been turned away for lack of payment" if she had sought treatment there.
Holzer associate administrator Jim Blevins said his company has no record of Bachtel being a patient for the past five years. About half of Holzer's patients are "charity cases," he said, and the company tries to work out payment schedules with those who fall behind on their bills.
In some cases, Blevins said, Holzer clinics place "credit restrictions" on patients believed to be able but unwilling to pay their bills. That would not apply to patients needing immediate or emergency care, he said.
Clinton erred in telling audiences that the Ohio woman lacked insurance when seeking help for her troubled pregnancy. But according to Casto's account, Bachtel's medical tragedy began with circumstances very close to the essence of Clinton's now-abandoned account: the lack of insurance created a $100 barrier to needed medical attention close to home.
Again, Sen. Hillary Clinton has had to drop a story from one of her speeches due to inaccuracy.
She should just really stop telling these stories maybe.
For the past month, the New York senator liked to tell the tale of a pregnant woman who was denied health care from an Ohio hospital because she did not have $100 the hospital demanded to treat her. After being turned away, the woman was brought back to the hospital days later with severe complications. She had to be rushed to another facility for advanced treatment, but it was too late. Both the woman and the baby died, Clinton told her audiences.
For Clinton, the story was an example of how everyone should have universal healthcare. It is a powerful tale and always drew gasps from the audience.
The hospital, which was never named in Clinton's speeches, objected this weekend, saying it wasn't true and demanded that Clinton stop telling it.
The Clinton campaign told ABC News today that the candidate heard the story from a deputy sheriff and had no reason to doubt the story.
"If the hospital claims it didn't happen that way, we certainly respect thatand she won't repeat the story," said Clinton spokeswoman Mo Elleithee.