Lie of the Year: Obama Quote on Keeping Your Healthcare

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” wins dubious honor from political fact-checking site

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U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while he talks about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November 14, 2013

A statement by President Barack Obama has been given the dubious honor of “Lie of the Year” with a rating of “Pants on Fire” by the Tampa Bay TimesPolitifact. 

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the president said, over and over again, while trying to sell Americans on the Affordable Care Act before it was enacted. It was a comforting promise to those concerned that the government would force unwanted changes on their health insurance plans.

“But the promise was impossible to keep,” Politifact said in its announcement.

Cancellation letters sent to four million Americans notifying them that under Obamacare they could not in fact, keep their health insurance prompted the president to issue a rare apology.

In 2012, the Pulitzer-Prize winning Politifact gave Lie of the Year to a Mitt Romney campaign claim that Obama was responsible for Chrysler moving a Jeep manufacturing operation to China. In 2011, Democrats’ claim that Republicans in Congress voted to end Medicare was given the title.

A reader’s poll signaled broad agreement on the Lie of the Year, Obama’s quote receiving 59% compared to 8%, in second place, for Senator Ted Cruz false statement that Congress was exempt from the Affordable Care Act.

Critics have pointed out that when Politifact looked at the same quote in June, the site gave the comment a rating of “Half True,” a far cry from the “Pants on Fire” rating it received in Thursday’s announcement.