The MIT economist who is the brains behind Obamacare has made quite a stir with his admission that President Obama’s health care takeover was built on lies. Mr. Gruber says he was willing to say and do whatever it took to advance the scheme, and now it’s clear why. Obamacare made Mr. Gruber a multimillionaire, and at the expense of the taxpayers.
Video of Mr. Gruber’s remarks, delivered at a University of Pennsylvania health care conference last year, has surfaced in which he explained how the details of Obamacare were kept under wraps until the measure was rammed through the Democratic Congress with no opportunity for anyone to read the legislation. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Mr. Gruber said. “Call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever. But basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”
Those “stupid” people have been extremely generous to Mr. Gruber. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2010 investigated the $297,600 that the Department of Health and Human Services paid Mr. Gruber to sing the praises of the health care scheme. Congress — or part of Congress — was concerned that this payoff violated a federal law against paid government propaganda, but the GAO said it wasn’t a violation because Mr. Gruber had written his propaganda on his own time. Officially, he was paid only to “analyze various health care reform proposals and identify cost and coverage implications.”
This is an extraordinarily lucrative enterprise in the age of Obamacare that Mr. Gruber himself brought about. Individual states have lavished taxpayer cash on Mr. Gruber in return for cookie-cutter reports that describe the impact of Obamacare for each of the several states.
Minnesota, for example, used federal Obamacare grants to pay Mr. Gruber to attend one meeting, participate in a biweekly email list and print a copy of the report, all for $329,000. Wisconsin paid Mr. Gruber $400,000 for the same material, requested by the office of then-Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat. When the report was presented, Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, didn’t want Mr. Gruber at the news conference. Vermont is paying him another $400,000. Such a deal!
West Virginia, Maine, Colorado and Oregon have partaken of Mr. Gruber’s services, too, guaranteeing him a tidy sum. The money bought lies and deception. That’s Mr. Gruber’s characterization, not ours. “If you had a law which made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people get money,” said Mr. Gruber, “it would not have passed.”
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Truth prevailed, as it usually does. “This bill was written in a tortured way,” he said, “to make sure the [Congressional Budget Office] didn’t score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scores the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” (Are you listening, Chief Justice Roberts?)
Democrats are scrambling now to push Mr. Gruber down the memory hole. The clicking you hear is his mug being Photoshopped out of photographs taken of him with Washington political notabilities. Josh Earnest, the president’s press secretary, dodges questions about Mr. Gruber, insisting the administration was entirely transparent throughout the entire consideration of Obamacare — the bill that Nancy Pelosi famously said had to be passed so everyone could see what was in it.
Given the amount of federal cash Mr. Gruber continues to pocket, Congress has a duty to order a full and complete audit of this work to make sure that no laws were broken and that the “stupid” taxpayers have received their money’s worth. While they’re at it, inquirers ought to consider whether Mr. Gruber’s dishonest politicking violates any ethical code at MIT. This flagrant Gruberism is another reason to repeal this abortion of a health care law.