Heading into the 2014 elections, Republicans have targeted several U.S. Senate seats in their bid to flip partisan control of the chamber. One of these targeted incumbents is three-term Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. A full year before the election, one conservative group -- Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire libertarian brothers David and Charles Koch -- has already begun to air a 30-second spot critical of Landrieu. The ad ties Landrieu to President Barack Obama’s health care law. As ominous music plays in the background, a narrator highlights Landrieu’s past support of the law and an ...>> More
Barack Obama: "What we said was, you can keep (your plan) if it hasn’t changed since the law passed."
President Barack Obama’s attempt at explanation has only fanned the flames of controversy over his campaign line, "If you like your health care, you can keep it." Obama was already dealing with a troubled rollout of the healthcare.gov website when reports of health insurance cancellation notices for many Americans started arriving. Such notices have been common only for people purchasing insurance on the individual market, which accounts for about 5 percent of Americans, a small minority. But the existence of people in that situation struck many critics as contradicting his like-it, keep-it promise on its face. Obama’s speech on Nov. ...>> More
Mike Rogers: In 1929, the Secretary of State shut down a program that was "collecting information to protect America" because it was "unseemly," but that move led<strong> </strong>to "millions and millions" of deaths in World War II.
The debate over the federal government’s surveillance policies -- prompted by the release of National Security Agency documents taken by leaker Edward Snowden -- has revived interest in a decades-old tale of spycraft. The story of the "American Black Chamber" intelligence program came up during an interview with House Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., on the Nov. 3, 2013, edition of CBS’ Face the Nation. Amid a discussion of whether the United States had been wrong to spy on friendly foreign leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Rogers stood up for an aggressive American intelligence effort overseas. "We did ...>> More
Barack Obama: Due to Obamacare, Arkansas "has covered almost 14 percent of its uninsured already."
Given the troubled launch of the national health insurance marketplace at healthcare.gov, President Barack Obama has been forced to trumpet good news about his signature health care law wherever it can be found. During a speech on the new law in Boston on Oct. 30, 2013, Obama pointed to examples of states that had succeeded in signing up lots of new enrollees. Hearing one of these states Obama cited -- Arkansas -- struck us as notable, because it has become a solidly red state. In addition, a reader from Arkansas emailed us to see if we could check ...>> More
Mitt Romney: "Health insurance is more expensive in Massachusetts than anywhere else in the country."
When President Barack Obama went to Boston on Oct. 30, 2013, to give a speech supporting his health care law amid a troubled website rollout, he chose the location carefully: Massachusetts was the state that enacted a universal health care law that Obama’s own proposal was based on. So it was natural that elected officials and pundits would begin to compare the Massachusetts plan with Obamacare. For the Nov. 3 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press, host David Gregory invited Mitt Romney -- the former Republican governor who enacted the law and the 2012 presidential nominee -- to discuss ...>> More
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified before Congress Oct. 30 for the first time since the federal health care marketplaces went online, answering questions about problems with the website and facing accusations that President Barack Obama lied to the American people about who could keep their health care plan. At the tail end of three and a half hours of testimony, Sebelius had a testy exchange with Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who asked the secretary why she wasn’t enrolling in the exchanges herself. "If I have affordable coverage in my workplace, I'm not eligible to go ...>> More
The White House has been on the defensive recently over its claim, repeated numerous times over the years, that under President Barack Obama’s health care law, if you like your health plan, you can keep it. His claim hasn’t worn well amid the letters to hundreds of thousands of Americans with individually purchased insurance plans notifying them that their plans are being canceled. Typically, these policies no longer meet the requirements in Obama’s law, such as the need to cover emergency care, maternity care, mental health or prescription drugs. In August 2012, we gave a Half True to Obama’s ...>> More
Some fathers help their daughters by teaching them how to ride a bike. But if you’re Dick Cheney, you do it by attacking her political rival on national television. The former vice president appeared on ABC’s This Week on Oct. 27, 2013, to discuss national security issues, and was asked about the Republican primary battle in Wyoming between incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi and his daughter, Liz Cheney. Though Liz Cheney has previously said her father wouldn’t be campaigning for her, he didn’t pass on the opportunity to take a few shots at Enzi. He accused the three-term senator of ...>> More
Welfare reform might have passed in 1996 but the idea of welfare remains one of the raw nerves in American politics. Conservative radio talk show host Charlie Sykes tapped into that theme during his regular morning show on WTMJ in Milwaukee. He teed it up by explaining why the American taxpayer was the "loser of the day." "According to the new census data, the number of Americans who receive means-tested government benefits -- welfare -- now outnumbers those who are year-round full-time workers," Sykes said. "Wow. We’ve been struggling, but in terms of the tipping point here, where you ...>> More
It’s the question-du-jour about the new health care law: Are people going to be able to keep their health insurance if they like it? President Barack Obama has several times said yes. But cancellation notices coming in the mail to policyholders tell another story. The contrast between Obama’s promises and what’s playing out in America has led to a fierce political war of words about who lied, who knew what and when, and how Americans will have to deal with the ramifications. Former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod and Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn debated the issue Monday on MSNBC’s ...>> More
With a host of technical problems at the healthcare.gov website, critics of President Barack Obama’s health care law have gone on the offensive. Among the claims we've heard recently, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said people visiting healthcare.gov are unwittingly waiving their privacy rights. Barton told Fox News that there's a problem in the source code that seems to contradict HIPAA, the 1996 law that, among other things, protects the privacy of patients’ sensitive data. "Hidden in the code, there is a sentence that says you waive any reasonable right to privacy of your personal information, the transiting of ...>> More
As the fallout from President Barack Obama’s health care law takes center stage, some critics are raising concerns about how much access Americans will have to insurance and physicians in the future. On CNN’s State of the Union, Rep. John Fleming, R-La., a physician and a critic of Obamacare, and Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy specialist at the University of Pennsylvania who supports the law, faced off. At one point, they debated the situation in Massachusetts, where a law similar to Obamacare was signed in 2006. As evidence that the federal law won’t work, Fleming said that in Massachusetts, "half ...>> More
Barack Obama: Nearly 6 in 10 uninsured Americans "can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent of your cell phone bill."
As President Barack Obama has taken a lot of heat for healthcare.gov, the website where people can buy health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, he has turned to his same talking points time and time again. In response to residents’ concerns that Obamacare isn’t affordable, Obama says: "One study shows that through new options created by the Affordable Care Act, nearly 6 in 10 uninsured Americans will find that they can get covered for less than $100 a month. Think about that. Through the marketplaces you can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent of ...>> More
In recent years, advocates for universal health coverage have regularly decried a side effect of having no health insurance -- the use of emergency rooms as a substitute for basic health care services. For instance, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in August 2009, "We have 48 million people with no health care. As a result, they walk into emergency rooms. It's costing every American who is insured $1,100 to pick up the cost of uncompensated care that goes on at the emergency room." We gave Boxer’s claim a Mostly False, largely due to questionable assumptions that undermined the calculations ...>> More
Lawrence O'Donnell: "The IRS has been specifically forbidden … from ever actually pursuing either civil or criminal remedies" for people who don’t purchase health insurance.
With the federal government’s online insurance marketplace floundering in its first month, some political pundits are calling for a delay of the hot-button provision requiring most people to pay a tax penalty if they don’t have health insurance. MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell is not one of them. Ever since the law passed, he has told his viewers to not fear the individual mandate. He said it again on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Oct. 21, 2013 while scolding a White House correspondent. "No one ever really has to pay the fine in the individual mandate," O’Donnell said, ...>> More
Internet memes are great for quickly spreading jokes and important information. And because they’re also efficient at sharing inflammatory falsehoods, they keep us busy here at PolitiFact. When a reader emailed us a graphic he came across on Facebook about which groups are exempt from Obamacare, our warning bells went off. Under the headline, "Where is your OPT OUT? Let’s get this straight, it doesn’t exist," a long list claims to show who is and is not exempt from the health care law, which requires everybody to have insurance beginning in 2014. Groups like Congress and the White House, criminals ...>> More
Sean Hannity: "In 45 out of 50 states, on average men are seeing their premiums double, going up 99 percent. Women up 62 percent."
If the rollout of the Obamacare website had gone well, we likely would be closer to having an answer to the all-important question: How much are people paying for health insurance and is it more than they did before? But for now, getting reliable answers can be treacherous. Conservative talk radio and Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity waded into the discussion on his radio program. A caller voiced frustration with the lack of jobs. Here’s the conversation that followed: Hannity: You know what the biggest job killer in the country is right now? Obamacare. Caller: One thing ...>> More
Maine’s Republican governor, Paul LePage, has a history of making controversial comments, from telling the NAACP that the group can "kiss my butt" to charging that a Democratic legislative leader "claims to be for the people but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline." Recently, LePage made another comment that has attracted national attention. On Oct. 22, 2013, a blogger for the Bangor Daily News posted an audio clip from a speech LePage made in Falmouth, Maine. Here’s what the blogger wrote: "Informed that the event was wrapping up, LePage said ...>> More
The recent fight over raising the debt ceiling -- the limit on how much debt the federal government can carry at a given time -- has brought added scrutiny to the history of the United States’ reliance on debt to finance its operations. During a recent Fox News interview, legal commentator Andrew Napolitano offered an arresting factoid. "The government today will borrow money to pay debt on money it has already borrowed and spent," he said. "I’ll give you one statistic. Woodrow Wilson borrowed $30 billion to fund World War I in 1917. That money has not been paid ...>> More
Now that the federal government shutdown is over, the blame game is well under way. On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., emphasized that he didn’t favor a government shutdown even though many observers have accused his party of instigating the shutdown as a way of defunding or delaying President Barack Obama’s health care law. On Oct. 20, 2013, host Chris Wallace asked Rubio whether he was "really prepared to keep the government shut down" when he voted against the final deal to re-open the government and avoid hitting the debt ceiling. "Well, let me be clear," Rubio responded. ...>> More
The rollout of the Obama administration’s health insurance marketplaces website has been so roiled with problems -- from a pricing glitch, to flawed data, to widespread log-in fails -- that even journalists from left-leaning media are calling for top officials to be hauled before Congress. But while appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Huffington Post political editor Sam Stein went a bit too far in criticizing the agency’s prep work before the Oct. 1 launch of healthcare.gov. Or at least that's what he told us when we asked him. "It seems from all of the reporting, and from ...>> More
Tom Colicchio is a celebrated chef, restauranteur and reality TV personality. But how is he as a political tweeter? We recently noticed a tweet Colicchio sent to his 420,000-plus followers on Oct. 20, 2013, that offered the percentage increase in the federal debt under the past five presidents. Here’s the text of the tweet: "Debt increase by POTUS: "Reagan 186% "Bush 54% "Clinton 41% "Bush II 72% "Obama 23% ... "Interesting." This sounded familiar -- in 2011, we fact-checked a claim by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that President Barack Obama "increased the debt" by 16 ...>> More
Among the many problems that critics of Obamacare like to highlight, one of the more common is that the health care law undermines jobs and the economy. This was Maria Bartiromo’s theme when she was on NBC’s Meet the Press. Bartiromo, anchor of CNBC’s Closing Bell, said the glitches that have beset the rollout of Obamacare are not the only issue. "Businesses have changed their plans as a result of Obamacare," Bartiromo said. "We are becoming something of a part-time employment country. We're seeing some groups moved off of health care from business because business is complaining that it's ...>> More
Barack Obama: "Half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months."
After a Senate deal brought the 16-day government shutdown to a close, President Barack Obama wanted to make sure the impact of narrowly avoiding a default wasn’t lost on the nation. "These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy," he said in a public address Thursday. As proof, he offered up specific claims including, "Half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months." PolitiFact wanted to know whether Obama’s CEO statistic was accurate. The White House pointed us to a ...>> More