Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden claimed falsely on Thursday night that not one American lost their private health insurance from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as Obamacare.
Biden repeated what the left-leaning fact-checker PolitiFact rated its 2013 “Lie of the Year” on a stage in Nashville during the second and final presidential debate of the 2020 campaign. Biden was responding to a question on his own health care plan, which includes much of the same structure as Obamacare, when he launched into an erroneous defense of the ACA.
“The idea that I want to eliminate private insurance, the reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for the nomination was I support private insurance,” Biden said. “That’s why I didn’t, not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare. They did not lose their insurance unless they chose they wanted to go to something else.”
Joe Biden claims that not one person lost their insurance under Obamacare pic.twitter.com/l7ddT2NwO7
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 23, 2020
PolitiFact rated the claim that not a single person was pushed off private insurance under Obamacare as its 2013 “Lie of the Year” largely because members of the Obama administration, including former President Obama, continued to repeat the falsehood while promoting the landmark health care law.
PolitiFact wrote in part:
It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system.
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.
But the promise was impossible to keep.
So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong.
Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.
For all of these reasons, PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice.
Earlier in the debate, President Trump hit Biden for the former vice president’s noticeable absence from the campaign trail in the closing weeks of the election. Prior to Thursday night’s debate, Biden had spent the last five days largely cloistered in his home in Delaware.
“We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does. He has the ability to lock himself up,” Trump said, referring to Americans continuing to live amid the pandemic. “I don’t know, he’s obviously made a lot of money some place, but he has this thing about living in a basement. People can’t do that. By the way, I, as the president, couldn’t do that. I’d love to put myself in the basement or a beautiful room in the White House and go away for a year and a half until it disappears. I can’t do that.”