It Wasn’t Just One Lie

Tim Phillips

12/25/2013 12:01:00 AM - Tim Phillips

Randy didn’t need Politifact to tell him that “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan” was the lie of the year. A Minnesotan senior citizen on a fixed income, he suffered two heart attacks earlier this year. Then he found out that Obamacare canceled his health insurance, a move that delayed the medical treatment that his life depended on.

Randy isn’t alone. When it came to Obamacare, the President chose politics over people—and now millions of Americans like Randy have lost the health insurance that they not only liked, but even needed.

But that wasn’t the only lie the American people have been told about Obamacare. Dozens of pithy talking points were used in the administration’s multi-year sales pitch. Many of them are just as deceptive as “if you like it, you can keep it.”

Some of the lies followed on the heels of the canceled plans. His first attempt to sweep this fiasco under the rug was laughable: “what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.” Never mind that those words had never been said, while the original lie had been uttered on at least 37 occasions.

Once that tactic failed, the President tried to shift the blame. It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t my law, the President said—it was the insurance companies who cancelled those plans. This is a half-truth at best and a deliberate misconstrue at worst: Insurance companies canceled those plans because of the regulations and mandates imposed by Obamacare. They were just acting under orders.

The White House has made other questionable promises, as well. We were told Obamacare wouldn’t kill jobs or limit employment opportunities. But Obamacare forces companies to make hard choices in order to stay in the black. Companies from Forever 21 to Trader Joe’s to UPS have made plans to cut or re-arrange their employees’ hours. Small businesses hovering near the 50-employee threshold are weighing whether it’s cheaper to lay off an employee or replace full-time employees with part-timers.

There isn’t a business in the country that’s not facing some consequence or cost forced on them by Obamacare. Just like the insurance companies that the President has tried to blame, it’s not the businesses’ fault when they have to make a hard choice regarding their employees. Obamacare has forced their hand.

We were also promised that Obamacare didn’t contain any taxes. That wasn’t true, either: There are over 20 taxes contained within the law’s text. One of them, the Medical Device Tax, may even kill up to 47,000 jobs if it’s not repealed.

The biggest “tax” hits average Americans the hardest. Once the exchanges opened, Americans found that their average premiums had skyrocketed by 41 percent and their deductibles by 40 percent. That doesn’t mesh with Nancy Pelosi’s promise that “everybody will have lower rates” under Obamacare. It doesn’t even mesh with the “Affordable” in the law’s own name.

That lie was similar to the promise that Americans would get better coverage with their new Obamacare plans. Many ObamaCare-compliant plans actually limit patients’ access. Just ask some residents of New Hampshire, who must now drive for an hour or more to get to the nearest covered hospital, or Washingtonians, who have seen their access to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital severely limited.

All told, millions of Americans have been affected by these lies. Whether it’s lost hours, higher premiums, or lost plans, the personal stories are piling up. These stories—like Tom’s—are proof that Obamacare was built on a foundation of promises that could never be kept. But the President valued put a higher emphasis on politics than people—and that meant we couldn’t know the truth.