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"Pants on Fire" Fact Sheet

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Bob McDonnell: “I tell you what it means for Virginia — $2.2 billion of an unfunded mandate in Medicaid expansion over the next decade.”
Politifact’s Ruling: After the Supreme Court’s ruling on the health care act, McDonnell repeatedly said states still face a “mandate” to take part in Medicaid expansion provisions in the law.
Actually, the court’s ruling had the opposite effect. It took away Washington’s ability to punish states that don’t take part in the expansion by eliminating their federal Medicaid subsidies. The court ruled states must have “a genuine choice” whether to take part in the expansion.
It is perplexing that McDonnell —  a lawyer for 23 years who served as Virginia’s attorney general and now commands a knowledgeable gubernatorial staff — would repeatedly misrepresent a major part of a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Thirty hours after the ruling, McDonnell maintained on national TV that the Medicaid mandate was intact.
We rate McDonnell’s statements Pants on Fire.
Rick Scott: “We’re not going to implement that; we just can’t afford it. It’ll be—just the first year—$1.9 billion increase.”
Politifact’s Ruling: Gov. Rick Scott announced June 29, 2012, that Florida will not expand its Medicaid program, saying that provision of the federal health care law would cost the state an additional $1.9 billion a year.
“It’s going to cost Florida $1.9 billion a year,” Scott said July 2, 2012, while co-hosting CNBC’s Squawk Box. Scott repeated the $1.9 billion claim on Fox News June 29 and July 2, on CNN July 1 and in a July 1 official statement.
Don’t believe it.
…The most recent estimate from the state health care agency says a series of changes to Medicaid could wind up costing about $1.4 billion a year, but that number includes things beyond the expansion to Medicaid that Scott was talking about.
For instance, about $400 million is tied to increased reimbursement payments to Medicaid providers. But the state isn’t required to pay that out.
And another estimated $516 million will pay for people who are eligible for Medicaid under its current provisions but have not enrolled. They would remain eligible whether or not the program is expanded in Florida.
That leaves about $500 million in estimated new costs for Medicaid patients under the federal government expansion. And that cost would not fully kick in until 2020…We rate this claim False.
Rick Perry: “We’re just not going to be a part of, again, socializing health care in the state of Texas.”
Washington Post’s Ruling: It is simply not true, no matter how often candidates say that the Obama health care law represents socialized medicine or took over one-sixth of the economy. Socialized medicine is a single-payer system, in which the government pays the bills and controls costs (much like Medicare.)
Sarah Palin: “The IPAB, what that is, will be a board that will tell you, Bob, whether your level of productivity in society is worthy of receiving the rationed care that will be the result of Obamacare.”
Politifact’s Ruling:  We have read all 1,000-plus pages of the Democratic bill and examined versions in various committees. There is no panel in any version of the health care bills in Congress that judges a person’s “level of productivity in society” to determine whether they are “worthy” of health care….Palin also may have also jumped to conclusions about the Obama administration’s efforts to promote comparative effectiveness research. Such research has nothing to do with evaluating patients for “worthiness.” Rather, comparative effectiveness research finds out which treatments work better than others.
Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.
“Death panels.”
The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn’t made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.
Her assertion — that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care — spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, “Death panels? Really ?”
The editors of, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times , have chosen it as our inaugural “Lie of the Year.”