PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year: ‘A government takeover of health care’

PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website, reviewed hundreds of campaign claims, negative ads, blogs, email rumors and other political statements during the 2010 election cycle, and found more falsehoods and half-truths than veracity. But the biggest lie of all, according to editors, reporters and readers of the site, was characterization of the health care reform bill as a “government takeover of health care.”

“Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats’ shellacking in the November elections,” PolitiFact editor Bill Adair and reporter Angie Drobnic Holan write. “The phrase is simply not true.”

While the measure significantly increases government regulation, they write, it largely relies on the private sector to provide coverage.

“Consider some analogies about strict government regulation. The Federal Aviation Administration imposes detailed rules on airlines. State laws require drivers to have car insurance. Regulators tell electric utilities what they can charge. Yet that heavy regulation is not described as a government takeover,” Adair and Holan said.