Monday, October 20, 2008

Insurance Questions

Questions about whether or not insurance issues might have motivated a deception have been swirling since the very beginning of this.

Here is my read on this. I don't think this is or was a primary motivator here. Here's why. Legally adopted children become for all intents and purposes absolutely equivalent to naturally born children. There would have been nothing to prevent the Palins from legally adopting their daughter's child, starting proceedings immediately after birth, thus guaranteeing any and all benefits to him for life, exactly the same as would have come to any child Sarah gave birth to.

Not only would this have benefited the child, but I think it would have spoken very well of the Palins. Had they handled an adoption openly but still discretely (I hope people don't think that's a contradiction) I would be 100% behind that choice and I would defend their right not to name the mother, even if "everyone" knew the baby was really Bristol's. That really would be a private family matter, no one else's business but the Palin's.

Of course, a daughter's birth might not have been covered (I have no idea how the State of Alaska Government Workers' Health Care plan might handle this) but the Palins are not poor. They certainly could have afforded to pay cash for a daughter's birth if they had had to.

So... let me know if you think I'm wrong here but I find it difficult to see why anyone would plan and attempt to carry out a deception like this, when the child could have been legally adopted within a few months of birth. If the deception happened, as I believe it may have, I think there's another reason besides insurance.


Anonymous said...

I mostly agree, but is it possible the Palins might have felt conspicuous burdening the taxpayers in such an obvious (even if discreet) way? Could the governor have seen ahead that her claims of small government and reform would have rung a little hollow if, as another poster pointed out, she adopted her daughter's baby for her own family's benefit?

Many of us have agreed on the sleight of hand accomplished by "Trig is undeniably Sarah's baby because Bristol is five months pregnant and you can't bring a teenager into this." But was the sleight of hand more efficient that we originally thought? Leading most of the country to abandon the "conspiracy" theory outright, and the rest of us to puzzle over Bristol--sorting through the spiraling possibilities for when she may first have been pregnant and whether this could be a second pregnancy. Have we been, for going on 2 months now, thrown so far off the trail that the Karl Roves of the world are just rubbing their hands together in delight?
Lower 48

Anonymous said...

First, I'm glad to see that somebody is pursuing these questions. I can't believe how easily the public and media accepted the ruse. It is the easiest thing in the world to prove maternity. There is only one possible reason why this hasn't been done: it can't be done. About motivations, I also don't believe that insurance fraud had anything to do with it. I think it started as a ruse to "protect" Brisol's reputation, and Sarah Palin is too arrogant -- too used to creating her own reality and getting away with it (I know a woman like this; she is also deeply scary) -- that she didn't even bother to put real effort into the deception. Once it splashed onto a national scene then Rove-esque tactics defused the story. I guess the hope is to win the White House and then rest secure that there can't be a do-over when the story finally comes out -- which, as you've said, seems inevitable. The other hope is that the National Enquirer will keep digging and get to the bottom of the story. Doesn't seem to be much hope that the so-called mainstream journalism community will actual practice investigative journalism.

Anonymous said...

Lower 48, if we hadn't seen how little Sarah Palin cares about burdening the taxpayers (see, e.g., charging the State of Alaska a per diem to live in her own house), that theory would be appealing.

-- Sandia Blanca --

Anonymous said...

Audrey, a suggestion for a post:

I would like to know what is the incidence of heart defects in Down Syndrome babies, how many need immediate cardiac surgery, and whether those cardiac defects are usually or always either identified or ruled out prenatally.

Also, how immediate must the surgery be? Or are most such cardiac surgeries done days or weeks after a baby is born. Is an NICU on site (not 20 minutes away) essential for the chances of newborn Down syndrome babies with heart defects?

If such a heart defect can *not* be definitively ruled out by sonograms or other tests during "pregnancy," then Palin's long journey home to Alaska to give birth would pass from being merely outrageously irresponsible to reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin is the only one of the four candidates refusing to relinquish her medical records. Why? Of the four candidates she should be the healthiest one and it would sure help McCain to show this since his records (1100 pages)aren't up to date.
She knows that by not releasing her medical records it would draw attention to the matter.
Why would she risk this? Unless, releasing her records would be even riskier.
Not so much for what the records would show but for what they wouldn't show.
If she indeed did not give birth then she could not release her records.
An argument could be made that she would rather take the heat for not releasing them than take the heat for not giving birth.
She couldn't possibly get a doctor to lie and say she had because they would check it out personally and the doctor could lose their license.
Also, since all her kids were named after something going on in their life at the time of their births as she has said many times, then it begs the question...why Trig? Which leads you to wonder why not Al(gebra).
I wonder if the media will pick this up because it says a whole lot more about what kind of mother Sarah Palin might be...I've known several friends who have gotten pregnant within two months of giving birth.

Anonymous said...

I suspect she will do the Bush/Cheney thing and just ignore public opinion, while trying to make a virtue of her stance for "privacy".

Like the current administration, it will be absolute arrogance and disregard for the public Her followers (who I'm hoping are a minority) just really love that.

I think if she won the election, she wouldn't care if it came out...she's probably prepared to spin it into some kind of heroic sacrifice on her part.

Kate said...

I have been pondering what's in the medical records...why can't she at least release a statement from her doctor that she's in good health? That's what Obama did initially, and it would at least indicate SOME desire to cooperate and be transparent. Or, she could provide records from her regular doctor but not her OB/GYN records--while it would disappoint those of us curious about the baby mystery, it would at least be something. She's so arrogant, it really sickens me. She thinks the rules don't apply to her. And I wonder if there is something even in her regular medical records that she doesn't want people to see...

What do you think Audrey--would it be appropriate for her to provide general medical records but not OB/GYN?

Anonymous said...

Bristol's 18th birthday was 10/18.

Happy birthday, Bristol!

Anonymous said...

The question was raised about the incidence of heart defects in Down's babies.

A little googling and reference to some of my old medical school texts reveals:

Congenital cardiac disease is the greatest cause of death in patients with Down's syndrome during the first two years of life, with from two-fifths to two-thirds of those with Down's syndrome also having congenital cardiac malformations. The lesions within the heart can be single or multiple. The defects are varied, but VSD (ventricular septal defect) and endocardial cushion defects predominate. There is also a very high incidence of gastrointestinal defects, with duodenal atresia (nondevelopment) one of the most common. This requires urgent, but not immediate surgery.

(Audrey's husband)

MomofFour said...

Fraud-free medical insurance most certainly would be available to an adopted baby. However, an employee who claims entitlement to medical maternity leave, rather than, say, leave to care for an adopted child or other family member (like a dependent who has just given birth) could face some issues. How interesting that Ms. Palin seems to have reported right back to work rather than taking any medical leave.

Jay Raskin said...

Hi Audrey,

I think your logic here is excellent. It would certainly be easier to adopt the child to obtain benefits than go through the deception.

I only have one question. Would adopting a child solely to obtain insurance benefits be considered insurance fraud? I am not sure if legally it would be, but could it not be perceived by some that way?
I mean, being governor, certainly people would have asked why she was adopting her daughter's son. What would she have said -- "My daughter can't afford or get health insurance for him, so I am adopting him so he can be covered by the state's health insurance plan." Might not this be seen as tricking the state into paying for something that she should pay for herself? For any ordinary average citizen, this might not be a problem, but for a politician who campaigned on the kind of anti-government, anti-corruption platform that she does (e.g., she made a big point about how she sold the state jet and traveled by commercial airlines), it would certainly make her a bit of a laughing-stock. (And as evidenced by her appearance on SNL, she doesn't take being laughed at all that well).

tee said...

I don't think insurance was the concern. I think she is extremely narcissistic and was more concerned with her reputation and her career than her daughter (she also has a view that she is above the law, ex. Troopergate). Especially because of her religious beliefs and abstinence platform. This is obvious in the way she announced the current pregnancy. She threw her daughter under the bus for her career with little regard for her child's feelings. She uses her children, especially the baby for photo ops. The scariest thing is that she appears to be able to convince herself that the lies she spews are true (not just about the this pregnancy, think Troopergate results). I fear that she actually believes what she says which is either extremely ignorant or pathological. This is not the self-serving personality type we need anywhere near the White House.

Anonymous said...

You guys forget that this is hindsight.

It may be that it would be easier to get insurance for an adopted child than to perpetrate a fraud, but she may not have known that and it isn't exactly an easy question to ask around on, is it? Not without giving away the bag.

Plus, remember, she is an ambitious politician. Also remember she had been contacted and interviewed months earlier for the Republican Vice Presidential Ticket. Say that again in your mind. She had been offered, even as an outside chance they would pick her, the top of the ticket of her party. You don't get two chances at such things.

So the temptation to deceive, if she's not the mother, would have been very great.

I could easily see someone in this situation freaking the fuck out and making what in hindsight don't look like rational decisions. Remember, she only has to tell a single person she doesn't trust that she is pregnant and then she is committed.

So I think the argument for rational decision making goes out the window when faced with such a high-pressure situation. I can easily see bad decisions being made like that, that would be impossible to back out of.


Anonymous said...

I don't think insurance has anything to do with it. Maybe I missed it, but why do we think the dependent child of a dependent child would not have been covered under her health plan? Does anyone have any experience with this issue?

I do appreciate the irony of considering how this country's bizarre system of covering health insurance might have influenced the choices of this Republican anti-universal-health-care politician.

I think the story line is not very convincing in part because she thought she was going to have more time to make this convincing, or that it would be easier to pull off than it was. She thought she would have more time to be photographed with basketball under her shirt. It might not have turned out to be as easy to stay in costume for the period of time required as she thought it would.


Anonymous said...

Audrey, I have been following your blog, as well as others that are actively and openly wondering about this issue. Thank you for your work and your curiosity.

As other moms who have posted here have pointed out, there are just aspects to being pregnant and to breastfeeding that are nearly impossible to fake, for lack of a better word. I think back to the photos that were posted from the hospital room with Levi's sister holding the baby and Sarah Palin standing next to her. She just doesn't look like someone who just gave birth. And the video of her striding down the snowy street in heels at six months pregnant and neither looking pregnant nor walking like a pregnant woman on a slippery sidewalk? And I have never known any woman who at even five or six months pregnant, particularly after four previous pregnancies, who did not have a belly. Coats and scarves cannot hide everything, especially when you are standing next to someone.

However, regarding the Bristol/Trig theory, the statistical odds of a 17 year old giving birth to a Down Syndrome baby are just very remote (1:1000?). Why could Trig not be someone else's baby? A family friend in trouble with an out of wedlock pregnancy? Someone from her church? A relative?

I am also astonished, given people's tendency to be quite bad at keeping secrets and news to themselves, that absolutely no one from the Wasilla area who knows this family has come forward with some type of clarification or confirmation of the Trig birth story.

Looking forward to the truth...

Reader from Ohio

colorado voter said...

Reader from Ohio raised the issue of the physical appearance of a mid-forties woman, who has had at least 4 other known pregancies. None of the photos of Sarah Palin show her to have ANY of the obvious physical characteristics of a 44 year old woman being pregnant. Belly bulge aside, how about the usual weight gain and water retention, or signs of fatigue, or any signs of a fuller face? The photos of Palin a month before her alleged birth and those taken currently show a face that measures the same size. Any woman on her 5th pregnancy would look much heavier than Sarah Palin did and most women in their forties would show greater signs of fatigue regardless of their current physical fitness level. Carrying a baby is hard work on the body.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if there is a cover-up going on, but if there is, I'm sure that serious hush money is being paid. My guess is that some of that money is being funneled to Levi Johnston's family, if he is indeed the father of Trig. Alaskan Gothic.

Anonymous said...

If Bristol is expecting December 18, and that's a big if, that puts the first day of her last menstrual cycle at around March 18. I guess we're supposed to feel that that puts her "in the clear" so to speak, on the Trig Palin maternity issue but given how unpredictable pregnancies are and how rarely, if ever, do babies arrive on their exact due date, Bristol could deliver anytime around the end of December, January or February and still have gotten pregnant in the beginning of May. Not to mention the possibilities for a secret adoption. Nothing about Bristol's pregnancy and delivery short of a camera catching a pillow slipping out of her sweatshirt is going to prove anything about Trig's maternity one way or the other and that was the brilliance of using "Bristol is pregnant" as an answer to the mystery of Trig's birth question. I feel we may have been lead us way off the scent.

So we have to go back to Sarah Palin in April of 2008. Are either of these stories possible, if a little less satisfyingly sleazy?

1. Sarah did get permission from her doctor to fly and now has to steer very clear of waterbreakgate to protect her doctor from losing her license.

2. Sarah invented the story about knowing Trig had Downs Syndrome early on to appeal to the right-to-life base and now has to maintain secrecy around the birth in case it comes out that the delivery doctors first made that diagnosis.

I know these possibilites don't factor in all the circumstantial evidence but I am just banging my head against the wall and wonder if, in my hope for something big enough to bring down the whole McPalin house of cards, I've overlooked a more likely scenario.

Lower 48

Elizabeth said...

Lower 48: you ask interesting questions, and I think it's a good idea to mull such possibilities. I don't think either of them really seems plausible, however.

Let's take #1: the possibility that Sarah's actually trying "to protect her doctor from losing her license." Putting aside whether SP has ever seemed to put anyone else's interests at the forefront, there's no bad outcome (like damage to mother or child from the flight) to sue/complain to the licensing authority over, and even if there had been, SP herself probably is the only one who would have had standing to make a complaint or sue (assuming she was actually the one who gave birth). So SP doesn't need to protect her doctor, and actually it seems that the only thing that's problematic for her poor family doctor is the statements SP herself has publicly made (e.g., to the NYT) about what the doctor supposedly authorized.

Second theory is also interesting (pretending to have known about DS "early on to appeal to the right-to-life base and now has to maintain secrecy around the birth in case it comes out that the delivery doctors first made that diagnosis.") but doesn't seem to call for anything like total secrecy--let alone inviting so much speculation about her innocent children. For example, how would releasing, say, the birth certificate in any way compromise her story about knowing about the baby's condition before the birth?

Anonymous said...

I may have missed this in another post somewhere on this board, but......did Sarah ever state that the baby that she was (maybe) carrying would have Down's Syndrome BEFORE she gave birth?

amy said...

In this article from the AP released today, the Palin children traveled on state money.

"The organizer of an American Heart Association luncheon on Feb. 15 in Fairbanks said Palin asked to bring daughter Piper to the event, and the organizer said she was surprised when Palin showed up with daughter Willow and Bristol as well."

Can anyone find a pic of Bristol from this luncheon?

Anonymous said...

Please everyone, read the Yahoo link posted above. Unbelievable. Sarah charged the taxpayers for her daughters to travel with her, failed to show the travel reimbursements as taxable income (as she should have according to every reputable tax expert) and claims her girls were there "in official capacity helping." Did Bristol get pregnant 'in official capacity helping." This woman is capable of anything.

Anonymous said...

I am unable to view this video... and it is on a site that has some X material... has anyone seen it... does really have video footage of Sarah & Bristol in December 2007?

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the topic of this post, I think I disagree with the premise that if Sarah faked the birth of Trig, insurance had nothing to do with it.

Sure, Sarah could have adopted Trig and got him insurance that way, but I think that would have raised a whole host of politically unpleasant questions, including the fact that the health care system in this country is so broken that grandma had to adopt the baby to get him insured.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Trig was and is uninsurable on the individual health care market. Great article in today's L.A. Times about how only the very healthy are eligible to buy private health insurance.,0,6869686.story

The article outlined the plight of a couple who had a baby about the time Sarah allegedly had Trig.

Baby Ava, a happy, healthy 7-pounder, was born with a minor hip joint misalignment. Her pediatrician said it was nothing serious and probably temporary.

Still, Blue Shield declared the infant uninsurable. The company foresaw extra doctor visits, "the need for monitoring and an X-ray." Ava's slight imperfection "exceeds . . . eligibility criteria for acceptance," Blue Shield said.

If little Ava was uninsurable (and her hip joint misalignment eventually aligned), you can imagine the consequences for little Trig with his stratospheric lifetime health costs.

And yet Sarah and her running mate John McCain want to further deregulate health insurance (just like the banks) because big government has got to get out of the way.

The L.A. Times article mentioned that children like Trig (and anyone with any health problem) are known in the insurance industry as "clinical train wrecks."

We know Sarah will never give a press conference, but if she does, I would ask her:

1. Do you think it is right that the insurance industry characterizes Trig as a "clinical train wreck" and that if you didn't work for the government (or another entity providing group health insurance), you wouldn't be able to obtain health care coverage for him?

2. Are you aware that medical debt has become a leading cause of personal bankruptcy and a growth business for collection agencies?

I think the answers to those questions would be even more interesting than whether Trig "Clinical Train Wreck" Palin sprung from Sarah's womb or Bristol's womb. (And please don't criticize me for calling Trig a Clinical Train Wreck -- that's Sarah's beloved insurance industry's name for him, not mine).

Anonymous said...

Not sure if it adds anything to the discussion, but the HuffPo has a slideshow in the Style section of Baby Trig:

Bristol is also there. No dates, however, on the photos, and in some it is hard to tell the older girls apart. Again speaking as a mom, I am saddened by the degree to which Sarah Palin seems to be using Baby Trig as a prop. The photo of her holding him under the arms with him facing the crowd just seems, well, not very maternal. One because I would not be holding a baby like I was trying to unlock a door holding a sack of groceries. Two because I can only imagine how loud the crowd would be and any baby would most likely be frightened.

Reader from Ohio

Gryphen said...

Anonymous at 4:28 asked if Sarah Palin had talked about having a Down Syndrome baby BEFORE Trig's birth or not.

The answer is no she did not.

She only mentioned that he was a Down's baby and that she apparently had an amniocentesis AFTER his birth.

sandy beach said...

What I remember from the birth announcement was a vague statement about how God had blessed them with a "special" baby and how much they already loved him. People were scratching their heads and finally, a day or two later, they confirmed the DS.

Mary G. said...

The AP/yahoo linked story about Palin charging the state of Alaska so she and her daughters could fly around the country and stay in fancy hotels is great! She probably put that private jet on ebay because it wouldn't fit her whole family.... anyway, several junkets are mentioned that include Bristol during months when she may have been pregnant--Feb. 2008? is that possible? dec. 2007.... there must be photos! Plus....wasn't Bristol out of school with mono at this time?????--Mary G.

Anonymous said...

Here's the story. Lots of events here -- we have to be able to find something!

Anonymous said...

I am wondering exactly when Bristol "caught" mono and wasn't it dangerous to fly around and expose other passengers to her mono?

Anonymous said...

It has just been reported that the RNC spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize Sarah and her family since her pick by John McCain in late August.

More than $150,000 in less than 2 months - boy this lady knows how to spend.

The RNC's financial disclosure entries also show a few purchases at Pacifier, a top notch baby store, and Steiniauf & Stroller Inc., suggesting $295 was spent to accommodate the littlest Palin to join the campaign trail.

This woman is capable of everything and anything.

Anonymous said...

A few questions --
1) the widely circulated photo of CBS 11 doing a live interview that "proves" Palin was pregnant. What was the supposed date? (I know there was some confusion over the date stamp initially). I've read that it is from roughly March 19. The pregnancy announcement that shocked and awed even staffers was March 6, two weeks earlier. Even if she carried very tiny, she could not have gone from shock and awe to people who saw her sitting down, etc. to that photo.
2) Has anyone found that CBS live interview?
3) Is there any meaning to the fact that the photo was posted on flickr on August 31, when the rumors had reached a crescendo?
4) Andrew Sullivan has laid out all the public reports about the pregnancy and Audrey has many times given an overview of just the facts, without the speculative stuff. Can't we add to the fact list the pulling of dozens of photos of Palin when the rumors gained momentum? What would the argument be for pulling photos of just Palin (I can understand pulling family photos.)
Lower 48

Anonymous said...

There's a nice slide show featuring Trig on Huffington Post.

Joan Kind

Marcy said...

Regarding insurance, here's an article from 10/21

And I hope that long url will show on the screen.

As for Trig's mysterious mother: would it help if someone bribed a hotel maid to snag some of his used diapers? Biologists know there's DNA in scat. Don't know how to get the mtDNA from the two 'mothers', though.

Thanks for this blog. I had suspicions, but not enough facts. grammy

Sustainer said...

I presume the State of Alaska pays for the governors health insurance.

At some point for Trig to continue to be covered under her policy I believe she would have to be listed as a dependent. I wonder what the law says about grandchildren? Given the unusual circumstances of Trig's birth a strong case could be made to require Plain to provide a birth certificate proving she is indeed Trig's mother in order for Trig to be considered a dependant.. No doctor would falsify a birth certificate. Perhaps former Governor Knowles would be interested in pursuing this.

If Palin has filed to adopt Trig would there not be a public record?

I hope someone has the time o to look into this.