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Topics: Obamacare

PolitiFact editor defends rating Obama health insurance promise as 'true'

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Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Analysis,Media,Politifact

PolitiFact editor Angie Holan defended her rating of President Obama's promise that "if you've got a health care plan that you like, you can keep it" as "true" in 2008, claiming that the rating was at least accurate at the time. It is the latest example of the high-profile fact check organization's attempt to justify its long-running failure to accurately describe Obama's promise as false.

In a Friday tweet directed at Forbes columnist Avik Roy, Holan stated: "The '08 rating was for a campaign proposal with NO mandate. Very different set of facts than later ruling."

In a now-infamous October 2008 column, Holan evaluated Obama's promise as accurate, concluding that "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."

PolitiFact amended that rating in several subsequent columns on variations of Obama's oft-repeated claim, but prior to 2013 never gave it a harsher grade than "half true." This was despite the fact that Obama's promise was a pretty simple true/false statement. That's why he made it: It was supposed to be a blanket assurance to anybody worried about the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act.

In fact, several million people have received cancellation notices from their insurers since the law was implemented. On Dec. 12, PolitiFact rated Obama's claim as its "lie of the year" for 2013 while simultaneously trying to obfuscate its own history on the matter.

Roy said Holan's tweeted response was itself a "pants on fire" claim, arguing that the 2008 version of the health care law would still have disrupted the insurance marketplace.

Holan also sniped at Roy, tweeting: "BTW, if you contacted us for comment beforehand, I never saw it." But when I asked Holan in November if she still stood by PolitiFact's columns on the matter between 2008 and 2012, she refused to directly respond. (She did indicate in a subsequent column for the Poynter Institute's website that she still stood by them.)

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