What do you think when you hear the word “takeover”?
It smacks of “dictators and a loss of freedom,” wrote Republican strategist Frank Luntz, in a 28 page memo urging GOP leaders to call President Obama’s ambitious health care plan a “government takeover.”
The phrase is simply not true…. Said Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill: “The label ‘government takeover” has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’ “
Nonetheless, the phrase stuck, and by March of 2010, 53% of respondents in a Bloomberg poll said they agreed that “the current proposal to overhaul health care amounts to a government takeover.”
“There was a uniformity of Republican messaging that was disconnected from facts,” Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer said. “The sheer discipline . . . was breathtaking.”
The St. Petersburg Times (an independent fact-checking website) also chose “government takeover” as the year’s biggest lie. In second place was Rep. Michele Bachmann’s claim that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on a trip to India.
It’s the second year in a row that PolitiFact’s biggest lie of the year was related to health care. Last year’s winner was “Death Panels” — a media falsehood that began with — you guessed it — Sarah Palin’s Facebook page.
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