(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

We’re introducing a new feature: a round-up of the five most popular posts every month. We wrote a lot in October about the new health-care law, so there should be little surprise that columns on “Obamacare” generated a lot of interest. But, during the government shutdown, a sleeper emerged as well: a column from January of this year that annotated President Obama’s speech, as a senator, for why he was voting against increasing the debt limit. Readers rediscovered that post through Google, and then it was reposted on Facebook and Twitter, earning fresh readers.

Click on the headline to get to the original column.

#1: Obama’s pledge that ‘no one will take away’ your health plan

First place goes to our lengthy examination of the president’s memorable pledge that, under the Affordable Care Act, “no one will take away” your health plan. Though the White House has since backed off this claim–made repeatedly by the president during the crafting off the law and in recent months–we concluded that it was worthy of Four Pinocchios because of the frequency he made it and because of the impact of regulations crafted by the administration.




2: Did Obama exempt 1,200 groups, including Congress, from Obamacare?

Here, we took to task Republican claims that the president exempted over 1,200 groups, including members of Congress, from the health-care law. This is greatly overstated. Though Republicans give the impression that vast segments of politically connected “groups” have been excused from the health care law, it was really just a one-year waiver  intended to make the transition to the new system easier for people with bare-bones insurance. The issue concerning Congress is more complex, but the bottom line is that the administration’s action was intended to reduce an unintended burden, not carve out an exception.




3: Ted Cruz’s claims on Obamacare focus on losers, not winners

We took the junior senator from Texas to task for always focusing on the losers from the law, without acknowledging that there are winners as well. The full impact of the health-care law will not be known for years, and there are bound to be winners and losers in any major change in social policy. By focusing just on the losers, in such stark terms, Cruz undercuts his ability to highlight what he considers the flaws in Obamacare. This colaumn examined a number of his specific claims, finally settling on an overall rating of Two Pinocchios.




4: How much did HealthCare.gov cost?

With so many estimates flying around about the cost of the troubled Web site, we took a stab at estimating the actual cost, based on contracting documents, congressional testimony and official statements. This column will constantly be updated as new information emerges, but currently it stands at least $174 million, with an upward potential of nearly $300 million.  (No Pinocchios were awarded.)



5: Annotating Obama’s 2006 speech against boosting the debt limit

Earlier this year, we were curious to look back at Obama’s 2006 speech in the Senate and examine the case he made at the time for not supporting a boost in the debt limit. The young senator from Illinois presumably did not want to buck the rest of his party establishment in voting for increasing the debt limit — not when there were just enough Republicans willing to support a president from their own party. But we noted that Obama would be on much more solid ground for arguing for an increase in the debt limit if he had given a speech back in 2006 that sounded more like his news conferences in 2013. He earned a rare upside-down Pinocchio, signifying a major-league flip-flop.

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