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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Politifact Attacks Obamacare Hard: Its 2013 "Lie of the Year" Were Statements from 2008-2010

Politifact Attacks Obamacare Hard: Its 2013 "Lie of the Year" Were Statements from 2008-2010

Friday, 13 December 2013 08:14

Politifact apparently has given up any pretense of being a serious independent news source. It wanted so badly to trash Obama over his "keep your insurance" line that it made this the lie of the year in 2013 even though all its examples were from 2008-2010.

But, when you're trying to push an agenda there is no reason to let reality get in the way. It also decided to hype the horrors of people losing their insurance, telling readers:

"there was no shortage of powerful anecdotes about canceled coverage.

"One example: PBS Newshour interviewed a woman from Washington, D.C., who was a supporter of the health care law and found her policy canceled. New policies had significantly higher rates. She told Newshour that the only thing the new policy covered that her old one didn’t was maternity care and pediatric services. And she was 58.

"'The chance of me having a child at this age is zero. So, you know, I ask the president, why do I have to pay an additional $5,000 a year for maternity coverage that I will never, ever need?' asked Deborah Persico."

While I have personally not investigated the matter, I would be willing to bet that there are other differences between Ms. Persico's cancelled policy and the Obamacare compliant one costing $5,000 more than coverage of maternity costs (e.g. lower co-pays and deductibles on the more expensive policy). It is likely that Ms. Persico also opted to buy one of the more expensive plans in the exchange, since low cost plans can generally be purchased for around $5,000 a year and it is likely that her previous plan did carry a positive price.

A real news outlet would have examined Ms. Persico's claims before highlighting them as a "powerful anecdote" about canceled coverage.

Thanks to Robert Salzberg for calling this one to my attention.


Comments (11)Add Comment
Still True in 2013
written by Robert Salzberg, December 13, 2013 7:38
Politifact notes that President Obama made an executive order that allowed insurance companies to renew all plans this year even if they didn't meet the standards of the ACA.

So no federal law prevents any American from keeping their insurance plan this year.

The Factoid Fetish of a Bright Line Test for Lies
written by Last Mover, December 13, 2013 10:01

In keeping with the factoid fetish of Politifact to do a bright line test on lies, what about lies of the century, for example told by George W. Bush and Alan Greenspan that changed America forever - for the worse?

- - -

This tax cut will increase growth and revenue in the middle of a useless war that ultimately cost 3 trillion dollars in lost opportunities.

Financial innovations that spread risk are propelling home ownership to record levels that ended in record levels of economic loss comparable to the Great Recession of 1929.

You can keep your house if you want it.

You can keep your job if you want it.

- - -

If Politifact is so hell bent on putting a name and a face on a lie by Obama, why not string together the lies Obama told in the name of hope, then used them against the middle class in a hidden agenda to support the 1%.

Oh wait. That wouldn't pass the bright line test would it. You know, that difference between Obama and the GOP that always manages to merge together behind closed doors into one grey line when the economic status of the middle class is at stake.
Mainstream Media's Disinformation Campaign against ACA Is Worthy of the CIA
written by Paul Mathis, December 13, 2013 10:06
Whether publicizing "death panels" in 2009 or promoting junk insurance policies as desirable for people to keep in 2013, there has been no limit to the MSM's scandal mongering about the ACA.

If this "lie of the year" is so obvious, why didn't Politifact notice it back in 2009 or any year since? Oh right, they were too preoccupied with showing how uninformed voters "hated" Obamacare in poll after poll and therefore Obama would be defeated for re-election in 2012.

Now the MSM is just doing the same thing: asking uninformed people their opinions of new standard health care policies and focusing on maternity care which some people don't need without pointing out that their own mothers could have used maternity care when they were born.
It's a regressive tax all the same
written by Rachel, December 13, 2013 10:22

That is, it takes from many people who are not wealthy, in order to pay for an expansion of Medicare. So rich Congress people and government contractors get to feel virtuous by spending the money of truck drivers and shop clerks, people who may not own their own homes, may not eat very well, may not get good health care, may not be able to afford much heating this winter. These people get to pay more, because otherwise we would have to raise taxes on the wealthy. And/or make an effort to reduce monopoly powers in medicine.
No agenda at Politifact
written by jumpinjezebel, December 13, 2013 1:36
I read their site almost everyday and the detailed description of how they got to their ratings. You'll note that they list the next 3 lies as from Republicans all about Obamacare. In fact they say that over the last 4(?) years the most lies have been told about Obamacare (all by the RWNJ's) than anything else. In the past they gave Obama a "half-true" rating until he started backtracking with the "grandfathering" rational. Of course they reached this conclusing based on about 14,000 user votes. Now how did they know who these voters were - I voted and they didn't ask for anything other than an email - I assume to avoid duplicate votes) BUT they can't know of there was a concerted effort by the underground RWNJ to email dittoheads and FauxBots to go vote and skew the results. Overall they are very fair - I think. This should take the wind out of the RWNJ talking point that the site is "IN The Bag" for Progressives.
Politifact SNAFU, Lie of the Year is a Lie
written by Robert Salzberg, December 13, 2013 8:15
From Politifact's survey that determined the lie of the year:

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Obama repeatedly made this claim in previous years;"

When exactly did "previous years" become "present year"?

written by Alex Bollinger, December 14, 2013 7:02
If I didn't already think that Politifact was just a bunch of shills pushing an agenda, I'd be surprised by how they totally ignored Clapper's lies to Congress about how the CIA was not involved in any spying on the American people.

3 reasons why it's more a lie of the year than the asinine "keep your insurance" fracas:

1. It was actually, totally 100% untrue. Even Politifact rated Obama's statements a half-true.
2. It occurred in 2013, not in 2010. (I'm kind of a purist about that "of the year" stuff)
3. The difference actually mattered. Obama is not required to mention that the ACA is not actually a government take-over of the insurance industry; if people believe conspiracy theories like that Obama was born in Kenya and that he's a socialist, that's kinda their own problem. That there's a shadow government trying to know everything about everyone on the planet so that dissent can be monitored and stifled, well, now lying about that in Congress is a pretty big deal!
written by bob, December 15, 2013 10:47
i normally agree with you, and for the record, i voted for obama and i support the ACA.

but you are probably incorrect about ms persico.

my wife had a high deductible policy with kaiser permanente hmo in california. she was paying $278/mo. that plan has been cancelled and kaiser set her up with the most similar ACA approved plan (bronze) available. this will cost her $666/mo. so, an increase of $4656 per year. both plans are $5000 deductible. the major difference is the new plan has slightly lower max out of pocket ($6350 vs $7500) and includes prescription coverage after deductible (she currently spends approx $150/year on RX so no real advantage there).

the kaiser bronze plan is the second lowest cost of all plans available on the california exchange.

with household income of $75K (not a lot in the high cost SF bay area) she gets no subsidy.

this is something that ACA supporters must come to terms with. the healthy middle class has been pretty much screwed.
written by bob, December 15, 2013 10:53
forgot to mention, she is 63 years old and won't be taking advantage of the maternity benefit.
written by Charles Peterson, December 17, 2013 10:46
I find it hard to believe that 63 yo lady in bay area had $5000 deductible plan for $278/mo. unless employer was paying balance. And that you still support ACA when wife has to pay $4656 more per year.

written by bob, December 18, 2013 6:55
@charles: its true, why would i lie? its an individual plan. we're both retired (i'm on medicare), there is no employer involved. she got that rate because she is healthy (no preexisting conditions), and kaiser is a very efficient, non-profit, health care provider.

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Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.