Julie Boonstra, a cancer patient who was kicked of off her health plan due to Obamacare, lashed out at Rep. Gary Peters (D., Mich.) on Saturday after lawyers for his campaign demanded that Michigan broadcasters cease airing ads featuring her story.
Boonstra, a Michigan resident, was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago. She was recently kicked off of her healthcare plan due to regulations passed as part of President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Peters voted in favor of.
After relating her story publicly in an ad produced by the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity (AFP), Peters dispatched lawyers to prevent the spot from running on local television stations.
Boonstra, who says she is now struggling to pay out of pocket for her rising healthcare costs, told the Washington Free Beacon she is stunned by Peters’ efforts to censor her story.
“I’m appalled. I’m appalled as a mom, as a woman, and as a cancer patient, as someone living with cancer… who has stood before this nation to say, ‘I cannot afford that out of pocket expense,’” said Boonstra, who said she was given a 20 percent chance of surviving her disease. “As a Michigan resident, to silence my voice, I’m absolutely appalled.”
Peters, who is running for a seat in the Senate, instructed his legal council earlier this week to demand that stations stop running the AFP ad until additional evidence of the cancer victim’s claims could be produced.
“For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should immediately require AFP to provide the factual documentation for its claims if you are going to continue airing this advertising,” read the letter from Peters’ lawyers.
The letter went on to question Boonstra’s motives and the facts presented in AFP’s ad.
Boonstra said she is “surprised” by what she described as the Peters campaign’s strong-arm tactics.
“I’m very surprised,” Boonstra said just hours after she attempted to confront Peter face-to-face at his Bloomfield Hills residence. “I have every right to tell my story and express my point of view and opinion on how Obamacare has affected me.”
Boonstra attempted to confront the congressman at his door, but he did not answer when she knocked.
“I just went up to his house and knocked on his door,” Boonstra recalled. “I would like to meet with him, but he did not answer. I know someone was home, so I left a letter there for him.”
Boonstra wrote in her letter, “I don’t understand why you’re trying to silence my voice. I have every right to speak out and don’t understand why you’re doing this.”
A spokesman for the Peters campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the matter.
“The fact that Representative Peters would sic his legal team on a Michigan mother battling cancer to muzzle her tells you everything you need to know about his record of putting politics over people,” AFP-Michigan State Director Scott Hagerstrom said in a statement.
“This attack on her credibility is disgusting, unwarranted, and inexcusable,” Hagerstrom said. “Congressman Peters and his indecent campaign team should be ashamed of themselves.”
Asked what she would say to Obama were she given the chance, Boonstra responded: “This law has not benefited him. I know there are some people out there who wanted to believe that. I have not seen the benefits so far.”
“This [law] is hurting me,” she continued. “I thought the intention was to help and it’s not. I’m angry [Obama] lied to me. He told me I could keep my healthcare plan and that was very untrue. I just want it to be clear that I have every right to tell my story.”