Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it'

We counted dozens of times that President Barack Obama said that if people liked their health plans, they could keep them.

President Obama walked away with the dubious distinction today of having uttered PolitiFact’s "Lie of the Year" for 2013.

And the claim that earned him this lack of honor?

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it."

Obama has repeatedly told live and television audiences they could keep their preferred methods of coverage under the new health-care law.

"So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans," wrote Angie Drobnic Holan, "the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong."

Worsening matters was the fact that the president doubled down by insisting his message went more like this: "Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed."

When PolitiFact examined the assertion last month, it gave Obama a Pants on Fire rating for erroneously suggesting he and his team had been misunderstood all along.

Even staunch Obama allies were forced to cry foul when a fact-check showed he had made the initial promise at least 37 times without ever adding the caveat of "if it hasn’t changed since the law passed."

A rare presidential apology followed.

"We weren’t as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place, and I want to do everything I can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position, a better position than they were before this law happened," Obama said during a Nov. 7 interview. "And I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me."