(The Root) — There's a saying in the news business: Dog bites man is not news. Man bites dog is. By that metric, Rush Limbaugh saying something outrageous or racially inflammatory is not necessarily shocking news. But the fact that his recent outrageous and racially inflammatory statement about Obamacare is not the most outrageous thing that has been said about health care reform is actually disturbing news.
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) looming, those opposing it are trying desperately to make one last stand against it. Though the opposition seems to dominate the headlines, the polls make it clear that those opposing Obamacare do not speak for the majority of Americans, even if they have the biggest media megaphones. A 2012 CBS News poll found that only 38 percent of Americans felt the entire law should be struck down, but 85 percent of all Americans supported requiring insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions — meaning that even those who oppose the law in totality support some of the most significant parts of it. Similarly, 68 percent support the provision allowing young adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents' health insurance.
But the realities regarding how Americans actually feel about Obamacare has not stopped some conservatives from speaking of the law in apocalyptic terms, as though it represents the dawn of the next civil war. With that in mind, below is a list of some of the wildest, wackiest and wildly inaccurate statements about Obamacare by conservative leaders.
1. Limbaugh compares Obamacare to slavery.
According to Mediaite, Limbaugh had this to say about the Affordable Care Act becoming the law of the land: "Slavery used to be the law of the land." After referencing other laws, Limbaugh concluded, "Is that the best they've got? 'It's the law of the land'?" You can listen to the audio of Limbaugh's fascinatingly ridiculous analysis here.
2. Congressman calls Obamacare tanning tax "racist."
During a Florida townhall meeting, Republican Rep. Ted Yoho said that he expressed concerns to House Speaker John Boehner about the 10 percent tax on tanning beds required in the Affordable Care Act. With tanning-bed use linked to increased likelihood for skin cancer, the tax is intended to act as a deterrent, much like taxes on cigarettes. But like Jersey Shore's Snooki before him, Rep. Yoho labeled the tax unfair, although his reasoning is a bit more … creative. By his own admission, Yoho told Boehner the tax is "racist" because people of darker complexions don't need artificial tanning. According to Yoho, "So therefore it's a racist tax. And I thought I might need to get to a sun tanning booth so I can come out and say I've been disenfranchised, because I got taxed because of the color of my skin. As crazy as that sounds, that's what the left does right. By God, if it works for them, it'll work for us."
Making this story even more ridiculous: Allegedly Boehner admitted that he didn't know the tax was even in the bill, meaning the highest-ranking congressional leader doesn't actually know what's in the bill over which he is battling. Even more ridiculous, Boehner is rumored to partake in tanning himself. But the most ridiculous thing of all is Yoho's logic (or lack thereof).
3. Palin mentions death panels. (Again and again and again.)
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor-turned-vice presidential candidate-turned-Tea Party darling, became the Pied Piper of the "Obamacare is dangerous and deadly" crusade back before the bill was even passed. Palin claimed on numerous occasions that Obamacare would result in "death panels" that would claim the lives of the weak and infirm. Just before the Supreme Court upheld the ACA, Palin posted this message on her Facebook page, according to the Washington Post: "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
Though Palin's claim about death panels, first initiated in 2009, was named the "Biggest Lie of the Year" by Politifact, it didn't stop the inaccuracy from gaining cultural traction. An NBC News poll conducted earlier this month interviewed a woman who cited "death panels" as being a key reason she continues to oppose the bill.
4. Michele Bachmann says Obamacare will kill people. Literally.
For good or bad, for much of her time in the national spotlight, the Minnesota congresswoman has found herself compared to the other conservative firebrand who also happens to be an attractive, articulate, provocative brunette: Sarah Palin. But Bachmann has often out-Palined Palin when it comes to outrageous remarks. Perhaps nothing proves this more than her comments earlier this year about the ACA. While Palin speaks delicately of "death panels," Bachmann goes all the way there. During a speech on the House floor to mark (or in her case mourn) the act's third anniversary, Bachmann had this to say: "Let's repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens."
5. Senator links Obamacare and Syria. (No, that's not a typo or joke.)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has already gained a reputation for being responsible for some of the most aggressive and extremist rhetoric to come out of the modern-day right wing, but he recently outdid himself. According to Politico, in an interview with Limbaugh, the Tea Party favorite said the following: "Fundamentally, actually, these two issues, you look at Syria, you look at Obamacare, they're tied together. They're tied together by an arrogance of this administration, that they don't believe they're accountable to the American people, and they are going to jam their agenda down the throats of the American people."
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.