PolitiFact’s Top 5 reports for February
Our readers liked reports about the health care law and chain emails, judging from the most popular reports we published in February. Here’s our rundown of the month’s top items.
1. A chain email wrongly claimed President Barack Obama signed 1,000 executive orders to grab power from Congress.
President Obama signaled in his State of the Union address that he would forge ahead on his agenda — without Congress, if necessary — through the use of executive orders. That sparked a resurgence of an old chain mail claiming Obama has signed more executive orders than any modern president, and it put Obama’s personal tally at more than 1,000. We ran through the numbers and found that not only is the figure way off, Obama is actually behind the pace of all his predecessors. So we call this a Pants on Fire!
2. An Americans for Prosperity ad about a woman with lupus didn’t tell the whole story.
Americans for Prosperity, a group opposed to Obamacare, released an ad last month based focused on the story of Emilie Lamb, a Tennessee woman with lupus who lost her health insurance. While we couldn’t fact-check the specifics of the ad, we were able to explain many of the issues she faced using her testimonial in the 60-second spot and other op-eds and public statements she made on her plight. We found her situation, though surely troublesome for her, was a very specialized and nuanced case.
3. Speaker of the House John Boehner mischaracterized the numbers on a new report, saying the health care law is "expected to destroy 2.3 million jobs."
A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that workers would voluntarily leave the workforce since they would be able to buy insurance at market prices on their own. In other words, they would no longer have to work to get reasonable insurance coverage. It can be easy to miss the distinction between jobs and workers -- and the CBO report was not all rosy for the nation’s economic future. But Boehner’s statement was flawed, and we rated his claim Mostly False.
4. We updated how the health care law affects volunteer firefighters.
Back in December, we took a look at a Facebook meme from Generation Opportunity, another anti-Obamacare group, that suggested the health care law "could force thousands of volunteer fire stations to cut service or close entirely." While the concerns were likely overstated, we found volunteer firefighters and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were petitioning the White House to clarify the law to exempt volunteer rescue units from a mandate requiring employers with more than 50 workers to provide health insurance. Those efforts were successfully, and we provided an update for readers.
5. A blog post wrongly said health care professionals will violate privacy rules to submit information to the government for gun confiscation.
A blog post from Mr. Conservative had this to say about the federal health care law: "According to Obama’s newest unconstitutionally enacted law, health care professionals are now required to violate HIPAA privacy laws and submit medical data to the government," which is "then used as justification for gun confiscation."
The many elements of this claim ranged from misleading to flat-out wrong. Experts say widespread gun confiscation is implausible. For a variety of reasons, we rated the claim False.