What the architect of Obamacare said recently was not surprising to those of us who have been critical of the massive legislation from the start. It was clear to anyone who actually studied the legislation, with even a modicum of logic, the smoke and mirrors that were used to mask the true intent and operation of the Act. What is surprising is how obviously truthful he was, and how the mainstream media are ignoring his remarks.
Jonathan Gruber, MIT economics professor, and principle architect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was astonishingly candid in his remarks about President Obama’s signature legislation in not one, but as of this writing, three different recordings.
The first video that surfaced was with a panel of academics talking about the ACA in October, 2013. He said, “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure that the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay. So it was written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law that said healthy people are going to pay in — if you made it explicit that healthy people pay in, sick people get money, it would not have passed. Okay. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical in getting the thing to pass, and, you know, it’s the second best argument. And I wish Mark was right, we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. So there are things I’d wish I could change, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
After this video surfaced, Gruber appeared on MSNBC where he made a feeble attempt at an apology. Regarding his inflammatory statement, he said, “I was speaking off the cuff and I regret having made them.” Notice carefully what he didn’t say in his “apology.” He didn’t disavow the statement, say he was wrong, or even truly apologize for his ill-chosen words. He simply “regretted” having made the statement.
Just after Gruber appeared on MSNBC, a second clip surfaced from a lecture he delivered at Washington University in St. Louis a year ago. In this one, he was talking about the taxation components of the ACA. He explained, “For people with expensive health insurance plans, they will no longer get a 40% tax break. What if we instead just levy a 40% tax on the insurance companies that sell these terrible expensive Cadillac plans. Well, that’s pretty much the same thing but why does it matter? You’ll see. They proposed it and that passed. Because Americans are too stupid to understand the difference.” The audience laughed as he finished.
Finally a third recording emerged, proving that his “off the cuff” remarks were an accurate portrayal of not just the ACA, but that his characterization of the American people was prototypical of those who put the law together. In a presentation from November 1, 2012, Gruber states, “We just take the insurance companies. They pass on higher prices that offset the taxes that we get, that ends up being the same thing. It’s a very clever, you know, base exploitation of the lack of understanding of the American voter.”
These comments from the architect of Obamacare are revelatory in so many ways. The first is that the healthcare bill was intentionally written in a “tortured” way so that the Congressional Budget Office wouldn’t score the legislation as a “tax.” As Gruber said, if it had been scored that way by the CBO, the bill would not have passed. In other words, the drafters of the legislation intentionally and willfully deceived both the CBO and the American people in order to get it passed. It’s too bad that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts saw through the deception in order to rule the ACA “constitutional” because it was a tax.
Equally troubling is Gruber’s admission that they had to avoid transparency in order to get it to get through congress, and to pass muster with the American people. As Gruber referred to it, the lack of transparency is a “huge political advantage.” What does that say of a political ideology, and a party, that employs such nefarious means to deceive and obfuscate in order to achieve their political ends?
Not to be lost in all this is the common thread throughout Gruber’s comments referencing the stupidity of the American people. Like Howard Dean said this week on MSNBC, “The problem is not that he said it, but that he thinks it. The core problem is that this law was put together by a bunch of elitists who don’t really fundamentally understand the American people. That’s what the problem is.”
And it’s obviously not just Gruber’s sentiments, but all those who sold the ACA to us. The disingenuousness, deception, and misrepresentation was by design. The only way the American people could be gullible enough to think it was good for the country is if the drafters used their “huge political advantage” of opacity and mendacity by obfuscating the truth. Based on most recent polls, there is still a large minority who still can be defined by Gruber’s characterization of us, as nearly 40% still think Obamacare is a good law.
It wasn’t just a large percentage of Americans who were “stupid” enough to swallow the party line on the ACA. The mainstream media swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. And they’re apparently still choking on it, as they have ignored these exposing comments from the law’s architect.
Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at email@example.com.