Suzanne Somers should disavow her lame argument against Obamacare

Actress Suzanne Somers is photographed at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Gala on Oct. 17 in Beverly Hills.
(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)

Maybe too much sex has addled Suzanne Somers’ brain.

In a much-mocked essay published by the Wall Street Journal on Monday, the 67-year-old self-help author and star of the 1970s TV show “Three’s Company” held forth on what she believes are the evils of Obamacare and the terrible effects it will have on retirees.

She didn’t really use facts, as such, or even logic, as such. Instead, using personal anecdotes about relatives and friends in Canada, a misremembered newsmagazine headline and apparently fabricated quotes by Stalin and Churchill, she maintained that Obamacare is a “socialist Ponzi scheme.” Here’s a bit of what she wrote:

“Affordable care will allow for preexisting conditions. That’s the good part for retirees. But, let’s get down and dirty; the word ‘affordable’ is a misnomer. So far, all you are hearing on the news is how everyone’s premiums are doubling and tripling and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that the whole thing is a big mess. Plus, even after Obamacare is fully implemented, there still will be tens of millions of people not covered. So what’s the point? Medical care will be degraded, the costs will skyrocket, and most frightening of all, your most intimate and personal information is now up for grabs….


“Boomers are smart. They see the train wreck coming … most I speak with think the Affordable Care Act is a greater Ponzi scheme than that pulled off by Bernie Madoff.”

I’m not sure how things are shaking out insurance-wise on Planet Somers, but here on Earth, American retirees have been pretty happily enrolling in Medicare for almost 50 years. Their premiums generally rise each year, but premiums do not, nor will they, double or triple.

It’s possible that Somers is wrongly conflating Medicare with some of the stories about the small percentage of people whose individual health premiums will rise under Obamacare.

But we’ll never know. “Suzanne will not be commenting,” her representative said Wednesday when I asked.


As for those “tens of millions” of people who won’t be covered after Obamacare is implemented? I assume she is referring to the working poor who will make too much money to qualify for insurance subsidies because many Republican governors have refused federal aid that would enable them to buy coverage. Those Americans are victims of zealous conservatives, not of Obamacare.

In fewer than 600 words, Somers managed to purvey untruths, misinterpretations, made-up quotes and irrelevant anecdotes, including a sob story about her husband’s Canadian doctor cousins who can’t make enough money in the Canadian single-payer system. “Several have moved to the U.S. because they want to reap financial rewards,” she wrote. (And now they won’t be able to because Obamacare tries to keep costs down? Oh, boo hoo.)

Somers deserves the takedowns that have come her way.

The Journal, for its part, also has some egg on its face. It was forced to post a long correction at the bottom of the piece:


“An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin (“Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state”) that has been widely disputed. And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill (“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens“) that the Journal has been unable to confirm.

“Also, the cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.”

Like Jenny McCarthy, the actress who has promulgated the scientifically debunked theory that vaccinations can cause autism, Somers has been criticized for using her celebrity to potentially mislead consumers.

She is perhaps best known for her fervent embrace of the controversial practice of using bioidentical hormones to stay youthful, but rarely discusses the other, presumably more invasive procedures she employs to fight the effects of growing old in a culture that, with a few welcome exceptions, turns its aging beauties into caricatures of youth.


On “The Talk” recently, Somers reduced the cast of chatty women to giggly girls when she announced that she and her husband, who takes testosterone, have sex twice a day, at 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. “We have busy mornings,” said Somers, who was promoting her latest book, “I’m Too Young for This.”

More power to Somers and her husband for keeping the home fires burning, even with artificial logs if they have to. I’m sure many are inspired by her refusal to give in to the passage of time.

But misleading retirees about the Affordable Care Act is unconscionable for someone who has carved out a post-Hollywood career as a self-help guru. The ditzy blond act was great for “Three’s Company.” There’s no place for it in the real world.



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Twitter: @robinabcarian