VIDEO: Politifact gives ‘Pants on Fire’ rating to ad by conservative group Crossroads GPS claiming unions getting breaks on health reform

The venerable fact-check website PolitiFact rates a recent web ad by the Karl Rove-affiliated 501(c)(4) nonprofit group Crossroads GPS — on supposed breaks in complying with health care reform the Obama administration is giving to unions as favors — as ‘Pants on Fire,’ finding no proof of any secret deal.

Crossroads GPS works in tandem with the 527 organization American Crossroads.

The web ad claims, in text: “Over 185 union waivers. All exempt from Obamacare mandate. If unions don’t have to comply with Obamacare, why should we?”

Watch the ad:

Politifact’s final assessment (read the entire post for more detail):

In ruling on this statement, we understand that the Obama administration would hardly admit to it if it were giving unions special treatment. But looking at the numbers of waivers that have been given to both union and non-union groups, we don’t see any pattern that would support a case for special treatment. The number of waivers are a small sample of all health plans, and many more waivers were given to big companies and corporations. We looked for additional information or evidence on this point and didn’t find it.

But there are additional problems with the ad. The ad doesn’t mention that the waivers only apply to annual coverage limits, that they’re intended to be in place only until 2014 and that many for-profit companies have received the same waivers. It gives the impression that unions are entirely exempt from the health care law, which they are not.

Because the ad gives the impression that unions are exempt from the entire law, and because it’s evidence for special treatment is so thin, we rate this claim Pants on Fire.

Last fall, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent collected an impressive list of instances in which Crossroads GPS or American Crossroads was taken to task by independent fact-checkers for blatantly inaccurate or misleading claims in their anonymously funded campaign ads.

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John Amick

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