Eager to find someone — anyone — who had successfully managed to enroll in a plan through the HealthCare.gov website, both local and national media outlets flocked to the story of 21-year-old Chad Henderson who claimed to have enrolled in the federal exchange. He just so happens to be a volunteer for Organizing for Action, the nonprofit outgrowth of the president’s campaign apparatus. And now, his father, Bill Henderson, just so happens to be contradicting his claims.
Since Thursday morning, when Henderson’s story emerged, at least seven media outlets have detailed his successful enrollment without mentioning his association with OFA and other Democratic causes. Among those sources are the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Politico, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chattanooga Times Free Press, and WRCB.
But Bill Henderson told Reason’s Peter Suderman that, to his knowledge, his son has not yet enrolled in a healthcare plan. The two had discussed enrolling in the same plan, he said, but doesn’t believe Chad has made a decision yet; Chad told news outlets that both he and his father had enrolled in separate plans on Tuesday, the day the exchanges went online. As Suderman points out, Chad’s decision to seek a plan different from that of his father would cost him more.
Henderson identifies himself as on OFA volunteer on his LinkedIn profile. On his Facebook page, Henderson also states that he “work[s] for an organization that pays me quarterly to post the political stuff as ‘advocacy’”; he has since said the remark was intended as a joke.
Henderson now claims that his endorsement of Obamacare has nothing to do with his vocal support for the president’s signature legislation.
The fact that I’m an OFA volunteer has nothing to do with my #Obamacare story. I didn’t get “special access” & I do not “work” for them.
— Chad Henderson (@ChadHenderson) October 4, 2013
UPDATE: The Washington Post’s health-policy report Sarah Kliff tweeted that she spoke with Chad Henderson after the Reason story:
And so the saga continues: Spoke with Chad Henderson again, confirms he hasn’t bought coverage, argues he didn’t lie. http://t.co/dylVMmhXl1
— Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) October 4, 2013
According to Henderson, he said he only completed an application for coverage and decided which plan he wanted to purchase, but has not yet purchased the plan.
“So, enrollment meant that my application was sent and approved,” Henderson told Kliff. “That’s what I meant by enrollment.”
Henderson also said that his father had not chosen or purchased his plan either. He blamed reporters for not understanding the process, and said he was “not backing down” on his comments.