GOP Outraged After Being Called Out On False ‘Government Takeover’ Meme

Yesterday, before the House passed a measure to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement provision from the Affordable Care Act, Republicans took umbrage at the suggestion that they had mischaractarized the law as a “government takeover” of health care and forced Democrats to strike the accusation from the record. The tussle began after Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), incorrectly accused Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA) of using the “takeover” rhetoric and therefore propagating what PolitiFact characterized as “the lie of 2010.”

Lungren however, didn’t use the phrase in the address that proceeded Blumenauer’s accusation and demanded that it be stricken from the record. It was and Blumenauer apologized, conceding that he likely misattributed the remark. Indeed, the phrase was used by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) an hour earlier. Watch a compilation:

Despite Lungren’s outrage and Blumenauer’s mistake, Republicans routinely rely on the poll-tested phrase. But according to PolitiFact, “government takeover” conjures a European approach — “where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees — that does not reflect the reality of health reform. From the group:

Employers will continue to provide health insurance to the majority of Americans through private insurance companies.

– Contrary to the claim, more people will get private health coverage. The law sets up “exchanges” where private insurers will compete to provide coverage to people who don’t have it.

– The government will not seize control of hospitals or nationalize doctors.

– The law does not include the public option, a government-run insurance plan that would have competed with private insurers.

– The law gives tax credits to people who have difficulty affording insurance, so they can buy their coverage from private providers on the exchange. But here too, the approach relies on a free market with regulations, not socialized medicine.

As for Lungren, a quick search of his website reveals that he uses the phrase repeatedly. In this press release from May 25, 2010, Lungren says, “Democrats in charge of Congress have pursued a partisan agenda, rather than addressing the concerns of the American people. Whether forcing a government takeover of health care, passing a National Energy Tax, stacking up record deficits, or ignoring our nation’s jobs crisis, the actions of this Congress have been against the will of the American people.”