“Government Takeover of Health Care” Wins 2010 Political Lie of the Year

Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Lie champion Frank Luntz (photo: Larry D. Moore)
Frank Luntz, you are a winner. The Republican consultant who labeled President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan a “government takeover” was responsible for the tagline selected as the 2010 Lie of the Year by PolitiFact, the independent fact-checking website created by the St. Petersburg Times.
Repeated again and again by GOP politicians and conservative pundits, the “government takeover of health care” played an “important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats’ shellacking in the November elections,” wrote the editors of PolitiFact.
Without passing judgment on the health care law, PolitiFact points out that the government will not seize control of hospitals or doctors; that the law does not include a government-run insurance option; that the majority of Americans will continue to receive health insurance from employers using private insurance companies; and that even those citizens who have trouble affording health insurance will receive tax credits so that they can buy insurance on the free market. In fact, overall, the health care law provides a huge boost for the private health insurance industry.
It is also worth noting that before Barack Obama was even elected president, 45% of all health care costs in the United States were paid for by federal, state and local governments.
A distant second for the year’s most significant political lie was that uttered by Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), who falsely asserted that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on his trip to India.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'A Government Takeover of Health Care' (by Bill Adair and Angie Drobnic Holan, PolitiFact.com)
Health Reform: A Beginner’s Guide (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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