Skip to content

Liar’s Tango–Affordable Care Act Edition

December 10, 2013

When President Obama’s promise that “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it”  it not only earned him Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” but it sent the right wing into paroxysms of howling rage. The right wing politicians, publications, pundits and (especially) the bloggers were just beside themselves with outrage. Perhaps rightfully so.

It was a foolish promise to make, especially considering that Obama has absolutely no control over the insurance companies. I believe that what he meant at the time, is that if you had insurance coverage that you liked, it would be “grandfathered” in, provided the coverage or terms did not change. Of course, the private health insurance market is a year-to-year contract, and these plans change all the time, especially if you get sick. This was made worse by the insurance companies continuing to sell substandard plans (meaning that they did not meet the minimum requirements of the ACA) knowing full well that they would have to canceled as the ACA took effect.

Of course, none of this mattered in the political calculus. Obama gave his opponents an opening and they pounced.

But what was lost in the noise and outrage, are all the lies the right wing used in their attempt to destroy this law. Let’s review some of them, shall we?

Death Panels

This is an oldie but goodie. Although Sarah Palin did not invent the lie, she made it famous because of the size of her megaphone and it spread because many dimwitted and ill-informed Tea Partiers are not capable of actually reading the law or doing anything that would approach what a rational person would call “fact-checking.” But when it was fact checked by Politifact, it was pronounced Lie of the Year for 2009.

Yet, this lie will not die, much like the Birther nonsense kept alive by mouth breathers in the right wing blogosphere. Note the recent comments of Mark Haperin, who should (and I think does) know better.

Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in the History of the World

This falsehood first spewed forth from the deranged Rush Limbaugh and soon it was a common Republican talking point.

And another Pants On Fire rating from Politifact. The Politifact analysis shows several tax increases that were far larger than the ACA. But actual facts can be nettlesome things, especially when you are not interested in an honest policy debate. Why bother with facts when facts will not get he rubes riled?

Obamacare Code Requires Users Waive Rights to Privacy

This lie comes from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX, of course) that asserts that the HTML code behind the website tricks users into giving up privacy protection.

Rep. Barton only demonstrated that he knows nothing about HTML, although he seems to be the genius that found the great trap in the code. Hint to Rep. Barton—keep your day job, because you do not have a career in computer programming. Because this idiocy may have been a result of simple ignorance and not shameful manipulation, it does not get a Pants on Fire rating, just a False rating from Politifact.

No Doctors Who Went to American Medical Schools Will Accept Obamacare

This priceless piece of lunacy comes with some xenophobia. Of course this makes it perfect for the perpetrator of the lie, Ann Coulter. This is designed to stoke the fears of the racists and xenophobes that are, well, her base. Anyone who bought one of her endlessly repetitive books (basic theme in all of them—“How Liberals Are Ruining America”) will find this fascinating. But fascinating and true are wholly unrelated.

This gets—you guessed it—a Pants on Fire Rating from Politifact.

Shaun Hannity and the Tales of Obamacare Woe

Hannity trotted out four couples on his show to proclaim how their lives were ruined by Obamacare. Apparently, Hannity and his producers were either too stupid or too lazy to exercise the minimum level of journalistic integrity that one can find at almost any college newspaper before they broadcast this nonsense. But it is Hannity, and it is Fox, so who can claim to be surprised?

Unfortunately for Hannity, this provoked the curiosity of a real journalist who decided to look into it. When he looked into it, he found that the claims they made on the show did not hold up even under the most casual scrutiny. Did Hannity retract and apologize like a legitimate news organization? Oh, please. This is entertainment.

California Republicans and the Fake Obamacare Website

Poor California Republicans. As if to demonstrate their complete irrelevance in State politics, and in a State where the law is working pretty well, they launched a fake website that looked like the real thing but was filled with anti-Obamacare propaganda and was designed to discourage people from obtaining health insurance coverage.

Will they take down the baloney website? Of course not. Now that they have been caught, they claim they are only providing “information.” Everyone one in the State that have nerve synapsis that actually work, recognize this crap for what it is. Every time I think that Republicans have hit rock bottom, they prove me wrong.

There are hundreds of more examples (like the IRS is going to ask about your sex life, etc., etc., ad infinitum), but these are just some of my favorites. For Republicans to continue to excoriate Obama for the “keep your insurance” lie, they must own up to the lies they have been propagating since 2009.

But they will not. Because they are, in the marrow of their bones, hypocrites.

Update 12/13/13

The original post was published before the annual Politifact Lie of the year was announced. A link to the Politifact “award” has been added.

Update 1/2/14

The right wing lies just get weirder and weirder. As much as I would like to leave this subject alone for a while, this lie is just a special case in Right Wing Bizzao land. I have to include it in this post:

Obamacare Will Result in Beheadings.

Pants on Fire from Politifact, of course. I really san’t add to this, other than to observe that the stupid and Obama-haters are gullible. Obviously.

    • Thanks. This was written before the PF poll closed. I will update the post to link Obama to Lie of the Year. Fair and balanced–that’s me.

      Sent from my iPad


    • Well, I know you do not care for PF, something that you and Rachael Maddow have in common (feel better?), but I used it as a source to identify falsehoods because of the non partisan nature of their research. Hence, I need to update the post, which I will do tonight. Thanks again for the note.

      Sent from my iPad


      • Non-partisan?! ROTFLMBO!

        Once in awhile when they have been backed into a corner they call it for conservatives just so they can maintain a tiny sliver of credibility.

      • Perhaps, but I think anyone or any information source that can annoy the both the left and the right, must be doing something right.

        Sent from my iPad


  1. On the dangers of letting Politifact be the arbiter of fact:

    It may work for some–a sorry some.

    • this is wondering pretty far off topic. If you intend to dispute my assertions about the right wing lies about the ACA, then lets have that discussion. This nit-picking over Politifact is nothing but a petty distraction.

      For example–are death panels real? Provide your evidence and we can discuss it. Is Joe Barton an HTML expert? let’s discuss.

  2. I’ll get around to it but in the meantime let me say as a taxpayer that if there are no death panels the law is defective. Someone on the paying side needs to decide when enough is enough.

    • So the right wing deranged howler monkeys attacked the ACA because they imagined that it contained death panels. Now you attack the ACA because it doesn’t.

      Would you guys make up your minds?

  3. Anyone with a shred of logical capacity could reconcile this. Since I am not the Tea Party I can’t speak for them. From time immemorial there have been death panels. Once upon a time it was the individual or his family. Then insurance companies got involved and now the government will undoubtedly have a say (or it better). We just trust our own decisions based on our own resources ahead of a government.

    You, of all people, should be very leary of this. You don’t think that anyone making a decision about pulling your plug is going to say “but he will vote reliably Democrat” do you?

    • Except there are no death panels in the ACA. Have you actually read the law? I have.

      It would be easy to prove me wrong. Cite the part of the statute that establishes death panels, and you win the argument. If you can’t, then you lose the argument.

      Simple, really.

  4. not_Anonymous permalink

    You have read the law? You and who else? I am certain that the words “death panel” do not occur in Obamacare. So if that is what I have to prove no thanks. But what about a rationing or decision mechanism? What do I have to do to establish that there is a mechanism for denying care past a certain point? Do you deny that the IPAB is such a body?

    • You just can’t stay on topic, can you? The issues you raise were not part of the blog post. A refresher:

      Obama got caught in a lie.

      The right wing exploded in a howling rage.

      The howling rage included no mention of or accountability for the right wing lies that have been part of the “discussion” from the beginning.

      My conclusion: the members of the right wing outrage machine are hypocrites.

      If there is anything in my post that is untrue, out of context, or misleading, bring forth the evidence and we can discuss. you have already declined to assert that death panels are real. I suspect that will hold true for the other lies that I highlight.

      I have no interest in your attempting to hijack the site for for more loud and fact-free hyperventilating. Use your own site for that.

  5. Your whole post is just a collection of straw man arguments to detract from the failure of Obamacare. My bad to say anything at all..

    • The post had nothing to do with the merits or demerits of the ACA. It was about liars and hypocrisy. We cannot have an honest debate or discussion about any policy (including this one) with with the discourse dominated by such pernicious untruthfulness.

      I challenge you to point to one single thing that was pro-ACA in the post.

  6. In case you haven’t figured it out, I never read your political posts. I always start but the logic quickly escapes me so if. I respond, it isn’t to the post but rather to the topic. Go ahead and say that it’s because I am a cretin and incapable of ordinary comprehension but give a passing thought to the other possibilities as well.

    • So if you do not read the post, how on earth can you make the statement that the post serves only to distract from the failures of Obamacare? Is this the same intellectual process that lead you to hate this law without having actually read it? Are you responding to what you think I should have said, as if i had actually said it?

      Is that your version of honest political discourse?

      When you refute arguments I did not make, you only look foolish. if you want to have arguments with the voiced in your head, fine–but leave me out of it.

      • You didn’t read my comment and I didn’t finish your reply. I am not responding in any way to your arguments. I don’t read them. I don’t have the energy or interest to figure out what your point is. If you post something on gun control, I know reflexively that it has to be a “woe is me we have guns in this country” point of view so I just post the anti progressive line. If you post about Obamacare, it is a collection of BS about troglodyte GOP positions so I just post stuff, any stuff, that is anti-Obamacare. If you’re waiting me to take your post seriously and engage in some futile counter argument you will be waiting in vain. I don’t even try to respond to your responses to my posts. At best I only skim them. You might call me a troll and you may be correct but again you may not be.

      • On the contrary. I read your responses and out of basic respect, I consider them seriously. I make no attempt to demean you or or thoughts, even though I disagree with almost everything you have to say.

        I guess you are not capable of respecting someone who disagrees with you. That’s your choice, but it makes you a smaller person-not only completely intolerant of everyone who dares disagree with you but aggressive in in attacking same. After all, I did not solicit your comments–you were motivated to comment by something I do not at all understand. Blind and knee-jerk hatred is not part of my makeup. Your basic attitude makes anything resembling a civil exchange impossible.

        Unlike you, i attempt to learn from differing points of view. And unlike me, everything you have to say is prejudicial, nothing more.

  7. Yes yes that is very noble. Good for you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: