Politifact, the Tampay Bay Times' dubious "fact check" arm that rates political statements on a scale of "True" to "Pants on Fire" has picked President Obama's promise to Americans that they could keep their health care plan if they liked it as their "lie of the year." Because, I guess, the claim by numerous Republicans that letting America default on its debts would strengthen the economy was really a 50-50.
Politifact falls victim to its own Obama Derangement Syndrome and follows the trail of political inconveniences the insurance companies caused the president by scaring their customers and refusing to bring their plans into alignment with the ACA requirements for the last 3 years (but they changed the plans nonetheless so that they wouldn't be eligible to be grandfathered in under the law) combined with the website problems and declares that the scare-storm caused by insurance companies and the political right was really the president's fault.
We have discussed before that the president's claim really was largely accurate, but let's give this bastion of "fact-checking" some factual reminders:
- The Affordable Care Act contains a clause that lets any plan in effect at the time of the law's enactment - regardless of whether those plans met the ACA's coverage guidelines - continue to be offered indefinitely. The recent problem arose not out of the provision of the law but from insurance companies unwilling to keep those same plans in place. Insurance companies changed those plans, not the president, and they did so long before the ACA requirements took effect.
- 85% of Americans get their insurance coverage through an employer, Medicare or Medicaid. Nothing changes for any of those Americans except the fact that Medicare drug benefits have gotten better under the ACA. Plans offered by employers remain in place as long as employers (and their insurers) wish for them to.
- Weeks ago, the president announced that anyone in any plan right now can keep it for another year provided their insurance company wishes to offer them and their state's insurance commissioner okays them; as long as insurance companies tell their members the truth just how their junk plan would leave them out in the cold should they actually ever need those plans.
But I suppose these facts are a little too inconvenient for a venerated publication like Politifraud... I mean, Politifact. The editors are Politifact are either still smitten by the political hay the president's opponents made from a comment that was at best imprecise - or worse, they are in on the blistering attempt to take down this president. Either way, it's a severe case of Obama Derangement Syndrome.
For an organization that claims to be fact driven, this is a spectacular failure. So much so that it cannot merely be seen as a failure - it is, at best, cynical propaganda designed to generate more controversy and coverage rather than shed light, and at worst, planned propaganda designed to tighten their ties with the political far Right and the corporate owned media world.
For these reasons, I present to Politifact the 2013 Propaganda of Year Award. Congratulations!