One of the key architects of Obamacare admitted that transparency had to be thrown out the window to enable the law to pass Congress, a legislative accomplishment that he claims was helped along by the “stupidity” of the voting public.
MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber apparently made these statements at the October 2013 Annual Health Economics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania.
Obamacare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, passed the U.S. Senate on Christmas Eve 2009, and the U.S. House on March 21, 2010, on a straight party line vote when both chambers were controlled by Democrats.
Public dissatisfaction with Obamacare partially explained the Republican landslide last Tuesday that conveyed control of the Senate to the GOP and increased its hold on the House.
You may remember that former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said of Obamacare that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
In the newly surfaced video that dates back to the 2013 conference, Dr. Gruber, who assisted the Obama administration with the crafting of the 2,000-page law, made this admission that seems to be consistent with that point of view and moreover that the ends justify the means.
This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… 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 for the thing to pass….Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
When the Obamacare individual mandate was challenged in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts sided (some suggest at the 11th hour) with the four liberal jurists to conclude that the law was constitutional on the basis that it was a tax after all. Under Article 1, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution, all bills for raising government revenue must originate in the House rather than the Senate, however.
Gruber’s fingerprints are also on the Obamacare subsidy controversy which is now headed to the Supreme Court. “[The Gruber video is] particularly revealing in light of Gruber’s recently discovered comments regarding the way the law’s subsidies for health insurance are supposed to work. In a 2012 video unearthed this summer, Gruber said explicitly that the tax credits to offset coverage costs were conditioned on state participation in the law’s exchanges–a contention that the administration denies, and is at the heart of a legal challenge on its way to the Supreme Court,” Reason explained.
In the run-up to Tuesday’s elections, several news outlets reported that on top of previously tossed-out policies, thousands more consumers in the individual and small-business arena will see their existing coverage canceled owing to Obamacare regulations. States affected include Alaska, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Tennessee. You’ll recall that when President Obama was selling the Affordable Care Act to the American people, he insisted that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
[image credit: will1ill]