There’s malarkey, and then there’s recycled malarkey. In what had been one of Joe Biden’s few better moments of last night’s debate, the former VP suddenly offered up a rehash of the Obama administration’s biggest lies about its signature health-care policy. Biden insisted that no one would lose their private insurance under his health care plan — which already sounded ominously familiar — and then topped that by claiming that no one lost their private insurance under ObamaCare either:
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden falsely claimed Thursday that no one lost their private insurance plans because of Obamacare.
“The reason why I had such a fight with 20 candidates for the nomination was I support private insurance,” he said. “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.”
This is a bald-faced lie, and a well-known bald-faced lie at that. That pledge from Barack Obama was such a failure that PolitiFact chose it as its 2013 Lie of the Year. By the end of that year, four million Americans got forced off their existing insurance plans, and two million more would suffer the same fate the next year:
“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.
This isn’t even in dispute. It was so glaringly obvious that Obama himself had to go on NBC News to apologize on camera in an interview with Chuck Todd. Did Biden forget this … or did he think everyone else forgot it?
David Harsanyi thinks it’s the latter, and that Biden learned that from 47 years of media cocooning:
It was one of the most significant political lies in recent history, leveled during one of our most contentious policy debates. If Americans knew they might lose their preferred private plans, Obamacare would almost certainly have been defeated.
Worse, the Obama administration knew that somewhere between 40 percent to 67 percent of Americans in the individual market would lose existing policies. Indeed, tens of millions of Americans would be thrown off their preferred private plans. I’ve never even seen a serious person deny that Obama misled voters on the issue. Even Obama, when it no longer mattered, admitted as much, saying, “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.” …
Perhaps Biden has been so sheltered by media coverage he believes he can say anything he wants. Biden again falsely claimed that he hadn’t called the China travel ban “xenophobic” and that he hadn’t called for a ban on fracking, and once again “factcheckers” were backing him up. So maybe he’s got a point.
On the latter point, media firefighters are already coming to Biden’s rescue.
This question actually started off well for Biden. He had picked up a bit of momentum in arguing — correctly — that Trump still didn’t have a plan for replacing ObamaCare. But for anyone paying attention, the Lie of the Year wasn’t the only rehash Biden used in that debate. While professing his intent to defend private insurance, he also put the original plan to force them out at the center of his new, revamped BidenCare proposal.
That would be the “public option,” which got forced out of ObamaCare in 2009 because of its Trojan-horse qualities. The “public option” is a government-subsidized plan that would compete against insurers in the ObamaCare markets, undercutting them on price as the government pours subsidies into its coverage. It would, in short order, end up pushing insurers out of those markets, which means millions more people would lose their private health insurance, whether they choose to do so or not. The government plan would end up as the only option, and eventually employers will end up pushing workers onto those markets as well as insurers simply exit the health-care markets.
In other words, Biden was full of malarkey on this answer. And don’t expect the media factcheckers to come close to the scope of it.