President Obama's repeated insistence that people could keep their healthcare plans once Obamacare kicked in was named Politifact's "Lie of the Year" — the fourth time in five years the "Lie of the Year" has been about this one health care law.
There were solid odds that some Obamacare "lie" would be the winner, given that six of the 10 finalists selected by the fact-checking organization (which is part of the Tampa Bay Times) involved the law in one way or another. It was also likely to be this particular "pants on fire"-ranked statement given its significance in the public debate over the past few months. Perhaps if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had sworn under oath that Healthcare.gov would work perfectly on October 1, that might usurp the title. But as the supercut compiled by New York magazine suggests, this was pretty inescapable for Obama.
Here's how Politifact described the award-winner.
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.
It also points out that three of the previous four winners since "lie of the year" was inaugurated in 2009 have been about Obamacare. The legislation "has been subject to more erroneous attacks than any other piece of legislation PolitiFact has fact-checked," Angie Drobnic Holan writes for the site.
In fact, it was only in the wake of last year's presidential election that the winner wasn't about Obamacare. In 2012, Mitt Romney only won one contest, handed the "lie of the year" designation for his insistence in campaign ads that Jeep was moving production to China. It wasn't and isn't.
Otherwise, the winners break down like this:
- In 2009, Sarah Palin won, for her insistence that Obamacare would include "death panels."
- In 2010, it was Republican consultant Frank Luntz's assertion that Obamacare would lead to a "government take over of health care."
- In 2011, various Democrats were given the title for saying that Republicans had voted to end Medicare.
Obama can find some consolation in that history. Palin has been unchastened by the ignominious distinction, continuing even this year to claim that death panels exist. And the right continues to suggest that Obamacare amounts to a government takeover. It would be hard for Obama to backtrack at this point, but given that he's termed out anyway, he should feel perfectly free to pick this line back up in 2015 or so. By then, there will have been another two Obamacare-related lies of the year to muddy the waters.