Nancy Pelosi and her statements about knowing Jonathan Gruber have sparked a political tornado, yet her Democratic peers still voted her back into the House Minority Leader position. Critics of Pelosi and Obamacare are saying she lied about knowing Gruber, but her office claims she merely misspoke when she said she did not know the MIT professor often described an an architect of Obamacare. Pelosi’s communications director says she meant to say that she “did not know him personally” but did know of him. Jonathan Gruber repeatedly referred to the American people as “stupid” or too stupid to understand what he basically described as a bait and switch when introducing the Affordable Care Act to the public.
Pelosi denied knowing Jonathan Gruber – but her own website and a recorded press conference have muddied such claims. During a November 13, 2009 press conference show on C-SPAN, the House Minority Leader touted Gruber’s analysis of Obamacare.
A New York Times report in 2012 stated that Jonathan Gruber “helped the administration put together the basic principles of the proposal” for Obamacare. The article goes on to maintain that Gruber was then sent to “help Congressional staff members draft the specifics.”
Nancy Pelosi’s communications director Drew Hammill said, “We’ve cited the work of dozens upon dozens of economists over the years. As the leader said today, Mr. Gruber played no role in drafting our bill.” For several years Jonathan Gruber was labeled an architect of the Affordable Care Act and has reportedly been cited in Obamacare legal briefs used during federal court proceedings.
Pelosi’s office put out a “health insurance reform mythbuster” release in 2009 that said in part, “Noted MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber is examining the House bill’s impact on premiums.” The Pelosi press release also said that Gruber found Obamacare “would result in lower premiums than under current law for the millions of Americans using the newly-established Health Insurance Exchange.”
“Our bill brings down rates. I don’t know if you have seen Jonathan Gruber of MIT’s analysis of what the comparison is to the status quo versus to what will happen in our bill. Our bill takes down those costs even from and prevents an upward spiral,” Nancy Pelosi said.
Jonathan Gruber comments made during a forum where he was deemed an economic expert on the Affordable Care Act.
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the 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 healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money — it would not have passed. Okay? Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass…. Look, I wish that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. … Yeah, there are things I wish I could change but I’d rather have this law than not. And I think that involves some trade-offs that we don’t prefer as economists but which are realistic.”
The cost-savings nature of Obamacare remains a hotly debated topic. While approximately seven million people are not reportedly on the Affordable Health Care exchange, about five million of those American families reportedly lost their former private insurance coverage due to Obamacare mandates. While premiums may be low for some, a government subsidy covered by the taxpayers greatly reduces the monthly premium. If an Obamacare policy has a $1,139 price tag, a government subsidy of around $800 can be available so a family making just under $100,000 per year pays a little over $200 of their own health care premium. Such a deal might sound good for a middle class family living in rural America where the cost of living is low, but when the family had only a $2,500 deductable with a private insurance provider and now has a $12,500 deductable and the loss of their doctor, pocketbook are a bit lighter and political backlash can result – as the 2014 primary election may indicate.
What do you think about the Nancy Pelosi Jonathan Gruber comments? Do you think the Obama administration believes the American people are stupid and intended to disguise the impact of the Affordable Care Act would have on the economy and consumers?
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