Georgia Republican Karen Handel was willing to lie during her campaign about her history of anti-health care extremism to secure her electoral victory. And becoming a member of Congress apparently hasn't improved her character on that front one bit.
A hallmark of her campaign was her blatant willingness to flat-out lie to the voters, and it seems that winning the election gave Handel confirmation that lying is the way to go.
During a recent telephone town hall with Georgia constituents, Handel was asked about her stubborn insistence on the need to repeal, rather than work to repair, Obamacare. As PolitiFact Georgia reports, her response was a plain and simple falsehood.
"The issue with quote ‘repairing the Affordable Care Act’ is the fact that it has so many taxes in it," Handel said. "In fact, the Affordable Care Act is the single largest tax increase in my lifetime history."
Handel is 55 years old, so if that statement were true, it would be fairly notable.
Alas ... it was not.
According to PolitiFact Georgia's analysis, since 1962 (when Handel was born) there have been at least three tax increases with a larger impact than that of Obamacare: the Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.
But the organization notes that the erroneous nature of Handel's statement goes further than that basic comparison.
A larger economy can absorb a higher tax hike and the nation’s gross domestic product has grown a lot over the years. To compare apples to apples, we took the federal government’s data on gross domestic product and calculated the impact of each tax increase relative to the size of the economy.
By that measure, there have been six tax hikes that were larger than those in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Furthermore, the group notes, the Joint Committee on Taxation found that if all of the health care law's taxes were repealed, the highest amount achieved by doing so would be $87.8 billion in adjusted dollars in 2025.
"Even in the highest year, based on the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of GDP in 2025, the Affordable Care Act taxes are about .34 percent of GDP. That’s less than tax hikes in previous years," Politifact Georgia notes.
Thus, the organization's ruling?
Handel said the Affordable Care Act is the single largest tax increase in her lifetime. Using constant dollars, three tax laws ranked higher. Relative to the size of the U.S. economy and federal revenues the year before, six tax hikes were larger than those in the Affordable Care Act.
We rate this claim False.
Handel managed to get away with telling blatant lies during her campaign, especially about her opposition to health care and her infamous near-destruction of the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation, driven by her hostility to reproductive freedom and Planned Parenthood.
During her first debate with Ossoff, Handel tried to lie her way out of that latter, but Ossoff didn't let her get away with it. Not that being shamed as a liar on live television was enough to dissuade her from lying about Planned Parenthood again in the second debate.
Now, however, Handel is a member of Congress, and she owes her constituents the truth. Certainly she sees the same polls as everyone else, and knows that even red state Republicans do not support health care repeal.
But Handel does, and just like during the debates, she's perfectly willing to lie to avoid accountability for her massively unpopular positions.