Presidential Debate: Joe Biden Repeats Famous Obamacare Lie

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during the final 2020 presidential campaign debate in Nashville, Tenn., October 22, 2020. (Morry Gash/Pool via Reuters)

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” was a promise President Barack Obama often made when selling the Affordable Care Act. 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.”

So, needless to say, it was somewhat jarring to see presidential candidate Joe Biden, during his debate with Donald Trump Thursday, brazenly repeat the falsehood. “The idea that I want to eliminate private insurance — not one person with private insurance would lose their health insurance under my plan,” Biden said. “Nor did they under Obamacare. They did not lose their insurance unless they chose [that] they wanted to go to something else.”

It’s debatable whether Biden’s health care plan would eliminate private insurance. Some of us would argue that a “public option” will do just that. But there is zero debate over Obamacare’s role is throwing millions off their private insurance.

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.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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