Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 11, 2014

Fact Check: Health care year-end report

By Angie Drobnic Holan


The rocky launch of and the continuing rollout of Obamacare dominated our fact-checking of health care in 2013.

n One of the key points of contention came when people in the individual market started getting cancellation letters, telling them they would have to switch plans. Those letters were at odds with President Barack Obama’s campaign promise from previous years that people who liked their insurance could keep their plans. (We awarded his old line our Lie of the Year for 2013.)

n In the weeks after the letters went out, Obama tried to backtrack, making the following claim on Nov. 4: “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

We found many instances, though, where Obama or his team made no such caveat. We rated his claim Pants on Fire.

n One of Obama’s top advisers took to Twitter to defend the administration. “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans,” Valerie Jarrett said on Oct. 28.

That wasn’t true, though. The law put significant restrictions on insurers so that they would be forced to shut down plans if they tried to change them. We rated Jarrett’s statement False.

n Obama’s former adviser, David Axelrod, fared a bit better on our Truth-O-Meter with a different statement. He said, “The vast majority of people in this country are keeping their (health insurance) plan.” That was generally on target, though experts told us it was difficult to pinpoint exactly how many people would get to keep their plans. We rated his statement Mostly True.

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