Politifact Lie of the Year: “You Can Keep It”

Suck it Obama! You done been called out! Jake Tapper labeled Barack Obama “Liar-in-Chief” just moments ago on his show, “The Lead”. Well actually it was Politifact (and 59% of the country) who bequeathed the title upon POTUS, declaring that the now-infamous phrase, “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” was 2013’s lie of the year. Interestingly, this very same statement was called a “half-truth” by Politifact in 2012. Back then, they wrote:

Obama has a reasonable point: His health care law does take pains to allow Americans to keep their health plan if they want to remain on it. But Obama suggests that keeping the insurance you like is guaranteed.

In reality, Americans are not simply able to keep their insurance through thick and thin. Even before the law has taken effect, the rate of forced plan-switching among policyholders every year is substantial, and the CBO figures suggest that the law could increase that rate, at least modestly, even if Americans on balance benefit from the law’s provisions. We rate Obama’s claim Half True.

Of course, that was before the epic FAIL website roll-out, before (an admittedly small percentage of) healthcare customers started getting cancellation notices this fall, and before the administration dug the hole even deeper with excuses and more half-truths. As Politifact explains on their website:

It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system.

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.

But the promise was impossible to keep. So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong.

Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief.  Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.

For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. 

We don’t yet know if this lie will be but a blip for Obama or a defining legacy. But for now, the American people -and the Tampa Bay Times -have spoken: Obama is a big fat, fatty-fat, no good liar. Just like Sarah Palin, Republicans, Democrats, and Mitt Romney.

Publish date: December 12, 2013 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/politifact-lie-of-the-year-you-can-keep-it/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT