Former President Barack Obama complained on Tuesday that his administration had been forced to deal with “misinformation” when it came to the Affordable Care Act — and then came dangerously close to repeating the misinformation he had helped to spread.
Obama was on hand for President Joe Biden’s rollout of his plan to expand Obamacare, as Reuters reported:
Obama jokingly referred to Biden as “vice president” before correcting himself, inspiring a salute from Biden, then offered broad praise of the Affordable Care Act, whose passage he described as a “high point” of his time in office.
“If you can get millions of people health coverage and better protection, it is, to quote a famous American, a pretty … big deal,” Obama said to hoots of laughter from the crowd, referencing an off-color Biden remark picked up by a hot mic when the law was signed.
But Obama also noted that there were a few clouds surrounding the Affordable Care Act — which became law in 2010 — and he blamed Republicans for stirring up doubt and spreading “misinformation” about what the law would actually do.
Obama says "There was a lot of misinformation flying around" when Obamacare was going through Congress.
I can think of one: "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it." pic.twitter.com/x03tUoWMAK
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 5, 2022
“Because the majority of Americans did have health care, some people naturally worried that they would lose what they had,” Obama said. “The media was skeptical of past failures, there was a lot of misinformation, to say the least, flying around. And it’s fair to say that most Republicans showed little interest in working with us to get anything done.”
The former president did not mention his own part in spreading misinformation about the law, as Greg Price noted in his tweet: “I can think of one: ‘If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.'”
Obama alluded to the fact that some Americans had been concerned that they might lose their health care plans or be forced to choose new doctors — both of which turned out to be well-founded fears — but he did not mention the numerous times that he had falsely assured the people that was not the case.
In fact, Obama repeated the false claim “if you like your doctor/health care plan, you can keep your doctor/health care plan” so many times that Politifact awarded it with the auspicious title “Lie of the Year” in 2013.
As Politifact reported:
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.