Obamacare Architect States That The Law Was Only Passed Due To “The Lack of Transparency” and The “Stupidity of the American Voter” UPDATED

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.26.38 AMWe previously discussed the statements of Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who played a major role the ACA, or “Obamacare,” where he repeatedly endorsed the theory at the heart of the recent decisions in Halbig and King by challengers to the ACA: to wit, that the federal funding provision was a quid pro quo device to reward states with their own exchanges and to punish those that force the creation of federal exchanges. That issue will now be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Gruber caused a considerable controversy when, after he had denounced the theory as “nutty” during the arguments in Halbig and King, he was shown later to have embraced that same interpretation. Having been paid almost $400,000 as an architect of the ACA, Gruber has become a major liability in the litigation. Now Gruber is back in the news with an equally startling admission that the Obama Administration (and Gruber) succeeded in passing the ACA only by engineering a “lack of transparency” on the details and relying on “the stupidity of the American voter.”

Gruber’s remarks were made on a panel given roughly a year ago on Oct. 17, 2013. Notably, this was at the height of the tension over the ACA. While I have long supported national health care, I was critical of the sloppy drafting of the ACA, the federalism conflicts contained in the individual mandate provision, and the unsupportable claims made by the White House in selling the Act. The last concern was the subject of Gruber’s comments. Gruber told the crowd that the “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” He also said that “basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

Gruber also later states that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.) is someone who “as far as I can tell, doesn’t understand economics” while calling a staffer for Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine) an “idiot.” The later reference appears to be a reference to aide William Pewen.

The specific comments on the bill are transcribed as follows:

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO 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.”

I was concerned that these lines were taken out of context so I watched the video below:

What is fascinating is that Gruber is open about what has long been hidden in this Administration: the lack of transparency as a tactical political vehicle. The ACA was pushed through by a muscle vote on a handful of votes while the Administration made claims that he later had to admit were misleading at best, such as the President’s repeated assurance that citizens could keep your current insurance policy if you liked it.

Gruber also admits that the Administration crafted the law to avoid it being supported by a tax despite Chief Justice John Roberts’ later decision that it was a tax. Gruber says that, while he would have preferred to be honest and open, such considerations had to be set aside in the interests of passing the law — even by less than honest means.

In a truly ironic twist, the University of Pennsylvania tried to pull back the admission on the lack of transparency by pulling the video:

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It was too late. The video was out.

In fairness to Gruber, he was doing what an academic is supposed to do in honestly assessing what he believed occurred in the historic passage of the ACA. While he later sought to deny the earlier comments that he made on the state exchanges (in a less than candid moment), there is thus far no comment from him on this latest video. As in the earlier admissions, there has been little relative coverage by the mainstream media of the comments. Once again, the lack of media attention is surprising given the importance of Gruber to the ACA and the Administration.

Jonathan-Gruber-1UPDATE: Gruber went on MSNBC to say that his comments were “inappropriate” while the host insisted that his comments were misunderstood as “nuanced” observations.

311 thoughts on “Obamacare Architect States That The Law Was Only Passed Due To “The Lack of Transparency” and The “Stupidity of the American Voter” UPDATED

  1. @ Anon and @Dust Bunny Queen.
    -Anon, thanks for the links you posted, especially the Steven Rattner/Death Panels link. You are probably aware of the British policy of .”quietly putting 60,000 elder patients on “Death’s Pathway”, without informing them or their families. “Sped things up” for patients ,near the end of their lives in most cases, as a money -saving measure. There are indications that we are heading down that same slippery slope, and I think that a government-run, single payer system would increase the odds of death panels, and passive ( and maybe not-so -passive) euthanasia.
    While it’s fashionable for many to scoff at the notion if death panels, I have seen too many indicators that tell me that death panels are a real possibilty.
    @Dust Bunny Queen -I was finally able to play the videos of Jonathan Gruber, and I reread some of the articles. You are, of course, correct in stating that Gruber was not expressing any regrets at misleading/underhanded ploys used to push through Obamacare. He’s bragging about the duplicity.

  2. LJC,
    Did the 2013 reporting alter your support for an administration and party that relies on your stupidity to further their agenda? I ask simply because the reality of Gruber ‘ s statements STILL fail to make any difference with the progressive left.

  3. LJC expects debate when all the Progressives are doing is bashing Fox or Palin or non leftist sources and deflecting from the actual issue which is typical of their tactics.

    So I ask you LJC, how do you dare demand ‘thought and debate’ when you will not even be honest with yourself? THAT is what is sad.

    You know what I am sick of LJC? The hypocrisy of the left. It makes me want to puke.

  4. Rafflaw I disagree with your Michael Moorelike comparison of the ACA to the Heritage Foundation model of the Republicans The ACA substantially tightens regulations on the health-care industry and requires that plans provide medical service while limiting out-of-pocket expenses. The Heritage Plan mandated only catastrophic plans that wouldn’t cover basic medical treatment and would still entail huge expenditures for people afflicted by a medical emergency. The Affordable Care Act contained a historic expansion of Medicaid that will extend medical coverage to millions (and would have covered much more were it not for the Supreme Court), while the Heritage Plan would have diminished the federal role in Medicaid. The ACA preserves Medicare; the Heritage Plan, like the Paul Ryan plan favored by House Republicans, would have destroyed Medicare by replacing it with a voucher system. encouraged

    Furthermore – this is another subject – the disintegration of rational thought on this thread is troubling as the posters can do better imo. Just my opinion.

  5. Rational thought? How about original thought Happypappies? Regurgitating debate comments from other sites without citation wouldn’t qualify for either. Pretty pathetic and frankly, Grubered.

    • Olly – It’s soo nice to have a critic like you. Especially when my computer shuts down in the middle of a scan. Thank you for noticing that I did not, for once, post the link I got my comment from. Good thing I did not digest my cookies yet so now I can post it for everyone and they can know why
      http://prospect.org/article/no-obamacare-wasnt-republican-proposal
      That’s okay, I don’t take it personal. And you know why? 1. I always learn from my mistakes, 2, I don’t have a giant Narcissistic ego 3. My thoughts are far from rational many times and I have to struggle to “bring them together” which is why you thought I was trying to plagiarize that article 4. Everyone’s mind is original to start out with until it gets brainwashed.

      Anyway, are we done yet? It’s gerber btw, and. I have a sneaking suspicion by watching your comments that we really aren’t that far apart but that I just get on your nerves or something. idk. I could care less if you want to pick me apart have at it.🙂

  6. The only thing Obamacare did was make the insurance companies, Big Pharma and Wall Street richer.

    People who did not have insurance before signed up and then discovered they still do not have insurance because their deductibles put them into bankruptcy.

    Only the truly gullible believe that Obama had any sort of good intentions with this.

  7. How about the libertarian idea of letting the insurance companies do insurance?

    Healthcare companies doing healthcare. Law offices doing law. Marriage left to churches with no government involvement. No tax difference for marital status. No deduction for charitable giving.

    I looked for a doctor upon moving to a new city. I consulted a variety of doctor rating websites and found the highest rated physicians in town. None of the top 9 accepted new Medicare patients. I found a practice with highly rated doctors that had a new graduate that would accept Medicare. It was quite a search to find a competent and highly patient recommended physician in a state capital city, but it can be done.

  8. He also stated that John Kerry, the current Secretary of State, was part of this deception. Wonder what that does for his credibility with foreign leaders. if he’d lie to his own citizens, wonder what he is pulling over on us! Wow! All he said is true! The absence of traditional underwriting has the young mostly paying alot more to pay for the unhealthy and older insured. The so called “cadillac” plans are what many if not most Americans had…modest deductible, moderate copay PPO plans which are now taxed 40% so are unaffordable! And the one size fits all instead of the previous cafeteria plans (ie. maternity, etc. riders) has raised overall costs considerably and means a single man or woman in his 60s with no intent of having children is paying for others’ maternity benefits. The longterm intent is to create dissatisfaction due to high cost and lousy coverage so that we will all cry/demand nationalized healthcare. And if you think that’s good, ask the families of the dead VA patients who never got care how they like government healthcare. I once worked in the field but quit after 3 episodes with cancer and have been shocked at the lies told to get this albatross legislation passed. So Gruber’s repeated bragging about how “stupid” Americans are misses the point that the need for he and administration to lie indicates they feared how smart we really are since they had to lie to get this crappy, criminally bad law passed. Oh and by the way, I am cancerfree 3+ years today BECAUSE of our best in the world due to choice healthcare system. Had I lived in any other country with nationalized healthcare I woukd currently be dead…the cyberknife was available to me BECAUSE I live in the US. We have 1 cyberknife machine for every 1.1 million people vs on average 1 machine for every 16 million in the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Holland, etc. i would either have been denied access or been out on a 3 year waiting list. Not here in the USA!

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