Sunday, November 16, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: And Then There Is Jonathan Gruber

‘WASHINGTON — Three years ago, as President Obama fought for re-election, his team was more than happy to have Jonathan Gruber, a well-known Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, mouthing off.

Mr. Gruber, a health care expert who helped develop Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts and later was a consultant for Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, was no stranger to the pundit circuit, and repeatedly called attention to the similarities between the two plans — a politically helpful fact for the Obama 2012 campaign.

“They’re the same bill,” Mr. Gruber declared once, adding an expletive before the word “bill.”

But now, Mr. Gruber’s bluntness is clearly less appreciated by those in the West Wing, thanks to the emergence of a series of videos that show Mr. Gruber calling the American public “stupid” and suggesting that the president’s health care law passed by fooling Americans about how it works.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure C.B.O. did not score the mandate as taxes,” Mr. Gruber said in October 2013, referring to the Congressional Budget Office. “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 to getting the thing to pass.”’

‘White House officials rejected the idea that Mr. Gruber was the “architect” of the Affordable Care Act. They noted he was never employed by the White House or any federal agency, though he was paid close to $400,000 as a consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services during 2009 and 2010.

But Mr. Gruber had become a high-profile booster of the president’s signature domestic achievement and participated in its development. During the contentious debate in Congress, top Democrats frequently cited his analysis of the law’s impacts. An invitation to a different October 2013 panel discussion listed him as: “a key architect of the A.C.A., Dr. Jonathan Gruber.”’ - Affordable Care Act Supporter Ignites Fury With a Word: ‘Stupid’, New York Times, 11/14/2014

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