What Jonathan Gruber Knew In 2009: Obamacare Will Not Be Affordable

Jennifer Murray - Author
By

Dec. 30 2014, Updated 10:13 a.m. ET

Jonathan Gruber, President Obama’s health care adviser, knew in 2009 the Affordable Care Act would not be affordable and that Americans would have to be denied treatment, according to a newly discovered document.

The Daily Caller, who has unearthed an October 2009 policy brief written by Jonathan Gruber, reports although Gruber (and the President) knew health care would be unaffordable and the Affordable Care Act did not contain any cost control measures, the White House should still go forward with implementing the plan and worry about cost control later.

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“The problem is it starts to go hand in hand with the mandate; you can’t mandate insurance that’s not affordable. This is going to be a major issue. So what’s different this time? Why are we closer than we’ve ever been before? Because there are no cost controls in these proposals. Because this bill’s about coverage. Which is good! Why should we hold 48 million uninsured people hostage to the fact that we don’t yet know how to control costs in a politically acceptable way? Let’s get the people covered and then let’s do cost controls.”

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One way to control health care costs, Jonathan Gruber maintains in the 2009 brief, is essentially to deny treatment “by telling patients they can’t have something they want.” He goes on to compare paying for surgery to buying a big-screen TV.

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“It’s about telling patients, that surgery doesn’t do any good, so if you want it you have to pay the full cost. It’s basically about saying that we as a society are going to have a minimal insurance package that reimburses effective treatments but that makes people pay on their own for ineffective treatments. There’s no reason the American health care system can’t be, you can have whatever you want, you just have to pay for it. That’s what we do in other walks of life. We don’t say everyone has to have a large screen TV. If you want a large screen TV, you have to pay for it. Basically the notion would be to move to a level where everyone has a solid basic insurance level of coverage. Above that people pay on their own, without tax-subsidized dollars, to buy a higher level of coverage.”

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He goes on to insist this is not technically denying treatment because it is not like in England, he says, where you cannot get an organ transplant if you are over a certain age. According to The Daily Caller, at the time the policy brief was written, Gruber had already personally counseled President Obama in the Oval Office and served on the presidential transition team.

Although President Obama promised in 2009 that the average American family would save $2500 with Obamacare, Gruber admitted on a 2012 podcast that the President knew the Affordable Care Act would likely not control costs, but instead of telling the truth, the President intentionally misled Americans by saying Obamacare would produce cost savings.

In 2015, it is expected Jonathan Gruber will return for further testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding the lack of transparency surrounding passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

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