The Evolution of Politifact's Lie of the Year

Politifact has labeled President Obama’s promise “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” its Lie of the Year for 2013. The site has come a long way since 2008 when it labeled the same claim “True.” Here’s a look at the evolution of Politifact’s rulings on this topic.

2008: Under Barack Obama’s health care proposal, “if you’ve got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it.” – True

like, you can keep it,” Obama said. “All I’m going to do is help you to
lower the premiums on it. You’ll still have choice of doctor.”


It remains to be seen whether Obama’s plan will actually be able to
achieve the cost savings it promises for the health care system. But
people who want to keep their current insurance should be able to do
that under Obama’s plan
. His description of his plan is accurate, and we
rate his statement True.

2009: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” – Half-True

On one level, Obama is correct. His plan seeks to build on the system
we have now, where most people get health insurance through their
employers. The plan also aims to cover the uninsured and reduce costs
for everyone. Back during the campaign, we rated a similar statement


, based on the fact that his plan does seek to build on the existing
system, where about 60 percent of Americans get health insurance through

Now, close to a year later, we finally have detailed bills to examine.
They closely mirror what Obama promised during the campaign.

But the plans also introduce new ways of regulating health insurance
companies that will surely change the current health care system. That
could prompt employers to change their health plans, and we find Obama’s
statement less clear-cut now than it once seemed.

2012: “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.” – Half-True

Obama has a reasonable point: His health care law does take pains to
allow Americans to keep their health plan if they want to remain on
it. But Obama suggests that keeping the insurance you like is

In reality, Americans are not simply able to keep their insurance
through thick and thin. Even before the law has taken effect, the rate
of forced plan-switching among policyholders every year is substantial,
and the CBO figures suggest that the law could increase that rate, at
least modestly, even if Americans on balance benefit from the law’s
provisions. We rate Obama’s claim Half True.

2013: Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’

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.