Arrogance of the Elite

I am pretty freaking cynical about the political process, so it takes something pretty bad to catch my attention.  This attitude by Obamacare architect Jonathon Gruber, which is likely shared by most of the Administration, simply makes me sick:

An architect of the federal healthcare law said last year that a "lack of transparency" and the "stupidity of the American voter" helped Congress approve ObamaCare.

In a clip unearthed Sunday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber appears on a panel and discusses how the reform earned enough votes to pass.

He suggested that many lawmakers and voters didn't know what was in the law or how its financing worked, and that this helped it win approval.

"Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said. "And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass."

Gruber made the comment while discussing how the law was "written in a tortured way" to avoid a bad score from the Congressional Budget Office. He suggested that voters would have rejected ObamaCare if the penalties for going without health insurance were interpreted as taxes, either by budget analysts or the public.

"If CBO scored the [individual] mandate as taxes, the bill dies," Gruber said.

"If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get subsidies, it would not have passed," he added.

By the way, Jonathon Gruber was the one in 2012 who said over and over that the limitation of subsidies to state-run exchanges was not a drafting error, but was an intentional feature meant to give incentives to states to create exchanges.  Now that it is clear that incentive did not do its job, and a case is in front of the Supreme Court attempting to enforce the plain language of the law, Gruber is now saying that he mispoke (over and over again) in 2012 and it was a typo.  Given the fact that he has now admitted he would gladly lie (and has) to the public to defend Obamacare, how much should we believe his current claims?

  • J_W_W

    The fact of the matter is fixing the subsidy problem would be a simple short and easy piece of legislation to pass. But that would only be true if the most childish, arrogant, narcissistic, and paranoid President in the history of the country hadn't spent the last 6 years vilifying not just the politicians elected from the other party but voters from the opposition party itself. And am sick to death of being called racist because I am not stupid enough to swallow the Progressive pablum.

    I want the Supreme Court to vaporize the subsidies and I want Obama to watch as his core achievement fails because he was too condescending to the only people who could save his key legislation.

  • jimkimmons

    I think he's related to Hans Gruber, the guy in Die Hard, who said: Hans Gruber: [addressing the hostages] I wanted this to be professional, efficient, adult, cooperative. Not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way... so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life. We can go any way you want it. You can walk out of here or be carried out. But have no illusions. We are in charge. So, decide now, each of you. And please remember: we have left nothing to chance.

    Have no illusions, they are in charge.

  • Matthew Slyfield

    "Given the fact that he has now admitted he would gladly lie (and has) to
    the public to defend Obamacare, how much should we believe his current
    claims?"

    About half as far as you can throw Jupiter.

  • David in Michigan

    This revelation comes as no surprise. It is but one example of what many see as a pattern. There have been a number of reasons given for the big Republican win this midterm election. One statement made is that the Republicans did not really win, but rather the Democrats lost. I think there may be a great deal of truth to that. The affiliation "Democrat" has been so strongly associated with deceitfulness and duplicity and arrogance and disdain for traditional values that the "brand" is spoiled.

  • kidmugsy

    "If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get subsidies, it would not have passed": forgive this ignorant foreigner, but what would be the point of the federal govt interfering with health finance if it weren't intended to bring about such subsidies? Maybe he has a point about stupidity.

  • Jim Clay

    kidmugsy,
    You aren't getting the point of the quote. It is not that people that are healthy at the moment are subsidizing people who are sick at the moment- that is trivially obvious. It is that people that are almost always healthy (i.e. young people) are subsidizing people who are almost always sick (i.e. the elderly and chronically ill). It does not make economic sense for the young to take part, in other words.

  • Jim Clay

    Bear in mind that the young are poor as a group, and the elderly are wealthy.

  • bigmaq1980

    Might not be a surprise to those who think about it much. However, very much a surprise to those who believed all they were fed.

    Gruber strikes one as a braggart. He probably thinks he's not gotten enough credit for his "brilliance" in helping formulate this strategy to sneak this past the rest of the "fools".

    Thankfully, there is a Gruber in every crowd who provides some Freudian insight on what is really going on. And, thankfully, the timing is perfect for the recent SCOTUS decision to take up the King v. Burwell case.

  • ColoComment

    The whole financing structure of the law was a triumph of imaginary numbers created to game CBO scoring, that are now crumbling fast when they hit reality: First they repealed the long-term care part of the law that was front loaded with premiums and no payments to bump up the revenue line, then an unexpected number of states rejected the Medicaid expansion that was designed to cover up the increased cost of care for lower income (but above "poverty line") earners. Now they're talking about repealing the medical device tax part (2.3% of GROSS revenues for device manufacturers, including dual-use human/veterinary devices). They are also continuing to pay subsidies to participants on federal exchanges even though that may be ruled against by SCOTUS -- If that happens, then how does THAT money get accounted for? Are they going to seek to collect those payments? Are they going to completely write of the billions of dollars that were illegally paid out?

    Further, if SCOTUS rules against the federal exchange subsidies, that also would remove related employer penalties and other fines/taxes that were designed into the law to produce revenue and/or incentives.

    We will never know the true cost of this boondoggle.

  • ColoComment
  • sean2829

    I'm not sure what the ACA will cause more of, tragedy or irony. The problem with medical care that affected everyone was and still is the high cost. I believe there might have been an incentive to bend that cost curve when the initiative started but as with most things the government does, the people who make a living on healthcare are the ones that really molded the legislation to their liking. When it was done, the ACA seemed more like a money harvesting scheme to collect money from a variety of sources and direct it to the healthcare industry. The folks on Medicaid and expanded Medicaid made out pretty well but those receiving subsidies and purchasing plans through the exchanges will likely find they have insurance and but few places to get care. Worse than that, those who qualify for ACA subsidies will likely not be able to afford the first $6K out of pocket so might be less likely to get care. In addition, the preventative care for examinations did not include free lab work so even that is beginning to resemble a trip to Jiffy Lube where you often spend $75 to get the advertised $20 oil change. If those who enroll in the ACA plans don't utilize services in a big way, I expect to see more shenanigans in the billing offices for hospitals where up-coding leads to higher bills or the case where mystery specialists show up on bills to make up for reduced patient volumes and lower negotiated prices.

  • Ward Chartier

    MIT professor, huh? One more example of intelligence disconnected from wisdom...and ethics.

  • Nehemiah

    Amen!

  • Nehemiah

    If the fed exchange subsidies are killed, the IRS will claw back the subsidies paid. There isn't a more effective collections organization than the IRS.

    And you are correct regarding the enforceability of the employer mandates in those states that do not have their own exchanges from which to pay the required subsidy. Lets hope SCOTUS gets this one right.

  • ColoComment

    I guess that the subsidies went to the health insurance companies, didn't they? So, yeah, maybe the IRS can get those back. Wonder if the companies are increasing reserves to cover that possibility?

  • kidmugsy

    Then the solution is obviously to pay for the whole thing by taxing the elderly. That would be an election winner.

  • irandom419

    Remember the earlier attempt at single payer:

    "I can't be responsible for every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America," Mrs. Clinton said in 1993

    http://triblive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/reiland/s_557486.html#axzz3Io7rQCgA

  • mahtso

    How can what you write be true in light of the blogger's insistence that it is really Coke and Pepsi?

  • David in Michigan

    Not certain about where your reference to Coke and Pepsi is coming from but it's irrelevant anyway. I simply pointed out that SOME people believe that the Democrats lost rather than the Republicans won. And the reason for their belief is that the Democrat party is negatively associated (which I agree with)..... as opposed to the Republican party being positively associated. It seems clear to me what I wrote but then writing was never one of my strongest points. I do the best I can.

  • skhpcola

    SOME people believe that they've been anally probed by ETs, thus making the topic relevant for discussion?

    The "Coke vs. Pepsi" thing is a tired Libertarian mantra that the host invokes whenever his ideological feelings get bruised. He probably adopted it from some other Libertarian ruhtard that felt it was a clever way to make Libertarians "different" and superior. It hasn't worked yet, but hang around a while and you'll read about how Libertarians can discern no meaningful difference betwixt filthy, evil D-ooshbags and mean, white Rethuglicans.