By Eric Boehm | PA Independent
Chad Henderson was all over the news the past two days.
The 21-year-old student from Georgia was cited in multiple articles as being one of the few, the proud, the successful to signed up for insurance through a federal exchange.
On his Facebook page, Henderson bragged about being interviewed by “The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Huffington Post, Enroll America, and Politico,” along with several local TV affiliates.
His story supposedly was proof that for all their glitches and problems – and the ambivalence of young people – the new health insurance exchanges were working after all.
Except it seems like it was all a lie.
Peter Suderman, writing at Reason, claims to have uncovered the truth.
“But in an exclusive phone interview this morning with Reason, Chad father’s Bill contradicted virtually every major detail of the story the media can’t get enough of,” Suderman writes. “What’s more, some of the details that Chad has released are also at odds with published rate schedules and how Obamacare officials say the enrollment system works.”
Suderman tracked down Bill Henderson through Chad Henderson’s Facebook page. And via the son’s LinkedIn account, he found this little nugget:
“He was a volunteer with President Obama’s campaign last year, and his LinkedIn page still lists him as an active volunteer with Organizing for Action, the former campaign organization which now advocates for the president’s legislative agenda.”
Chad Henderson didn’t really lie about his intentions. He told several media outlets that he was sharing his story because he wanted the new health care law to succeed. It just seems that no one at the posts – Washington and Huffington – decided to fact check his story.
The whole thing seems to have been set-up in advance. As Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post notes, she was given Henderson’s contact information Tuesday morning just moments after writing a blog post “about the lack of information on Obamacare enrollees.”
Who passed Henderson’s contact information to Kliff? Enroll America, the pro-Obamacare nonprofit run by a former communications director for the Obama campaign.
Hmm, didn’t Henderson work for that same campaign? Surely, just a coincidence.
UPDATE: Kliff got Henderson on the phone again (he did not respond to a Facebook message from this reporter) and he admits that he did not complete the enrollment process, but argues that he was not lying when he said he did. She does not appear to have asked about his connections to the Obama campaign and Enroll America.
Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at EBoehm@Watchdog.org. Follow him on Twitter at @EricBoehm87