The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was pitched and eventually sold to the American public on a foundation of lies. Many of the most egregious examples of the calculated mendacity of ObamaCare’s designers were exposed by the law’s very implementation, but a few of its more subtle deceptions and the duplicity of the law’s authors was revealed in a series of videos featuring the refreshingly honest Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist and health care policy advisor Jonathan Gruber. It is fitting that, just days before the Supreme Court issues what might be its most far-reaching verdict regarding the ACA’s fraudulence, Gruber is again in the news.
As soon as the Affordable Care Act was implemented and revealed its hideous, multifarious visage to the public, the lies at the heart of the law became apparent even to observers committed to ensuring its success.
Premiums rose both for those on and off Affordable Care Act-related plans. Patients began losing their cherished and long-patronized doctors. The Supreme Court virtually rewrote the law when it ignored the administration and the solicitor general when it determined that the government had no right to penalize the public for failing to purchase health insurance. None of this would have come as a surprise to anyone who attended one of Gruber’s many lectures.
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” the health care policy advisor conceded, because “if CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”
As for the substance of the case the Court will rule on before the end of the month in King v. Burwell, Gruber appeared to validate the claims of those who believe the law was intentionally crafted to deny states the subsidies they presently enjoy if they did not set up a state-run insurance exchange. “There’s a lot of responsibilities on the states to set up these exchanges, like we did in Massachusetts, to regulate them and run them,” Gruber insisted in 2011. “Will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens?”
Later that year, Gruber expanded on his frustrations with those Republicans who opposed this monstrous social engineering scheme that had taken the form of a health care reform bill. “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens doesn’t get their tax credits,” he noted.
Most infamously, Gruber insisted that none of this would have been possible if not for him and his fellows’ faith in the “stupidity of the American voter.” He added “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”
Perhaps fearing the obvious political fallout that would eventually result from these acerbic statements, those who invested their futures in the ACA rushed to insist that they had never heard of the man once praised by Democrats as the most accomplished man in his field. “I don’t know who he is,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said of Gruber. “He didn’t help write our bill.”
“I just heard about this,” President Barack Obama insisted amid growing national scandal. “The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is no reflection on the actual process that was run.”
According to emails belatedly obtained by House Oversight Committee investigators, however, Gruber had more fingerprints on the bill than its crafters would have preferred to admit. “The emails show frequent consultations between Mr. Gruber and top Obama administration staffers and advisers in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the Affordable Care Act,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. “They show he informed HHS about interviews with reporters and discussions with lawmakers, and he consulted with HHS about how to publicly describe his role.”
The emails show Mr. Gruber was in touch with key advisers such as Peter Orszag, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget, an arm of the White House that oversaw federal programs.
He was also in contact with Jason Furman, an economic adviser to the president, and Ezekiel Emanuel, who was then a special adviser for health policy at OMB.
One email indicates Mr. Gruber was invited to meet with Mr. Obama. In a July 2009 email, he wrote that Mr. Orszag had “invited me to meet with the head honcho to talk about cost control.”
“Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,” according to Sept. 9, 2009 email to Mr. Gruber from Jeanne Lambrew, a top Obama administration health adviser who worked at HHS and the White House. In a November 2009 email, she called Mr. Gruber “our hero.”
The report quotes a Health and Human Services spokeswoman who adopted the supremely cynical tactic of insisting that all these new revelations contained in emails that the administration sought to keep secret amounted to “old news.” The transition from the Obama to Clinton White House appears to be proceeding apace.
It’s appropriate that Gruber would again become the focus of national controversy with just days to go before the Court decides whether it will again rewrite this hastily crafted law passed only as a result of parliamentary trickery. With just hours to go before that fateful moment, the nation was again reminded of the dishonesty that taints this law. Every step of the way, this White House has tried to foist onto the public legislation that would have long ago been scrapped had they been honest about its designs and effects. This latest bit of compulsive mendacity from the administration is sadly all too familiar.