Government & Politics

Congress Grills Gruber for ObamaCare Candor

ObamaCare architect apologized for getting caught saying inconvenient things.

Dec. 10, 2014

It’s impossible to guess how much of the fabrication and disinformation the Obama administration crammed into its first six years will ever be known. But thanks to the thoughtless blabbering in front of cameras by an arrogant yet fatuous member of the higher education intelligentsia, the soft underbelly of Barack Obama’s only significant achievement is being sliced open, and the fetid tangle of lies and corruption are gradually being pulled apart.

Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and other Republican members had the rare pleasure Tuesday of ripping into Obama apparatchik Jonathan Gruber, the MIT health care wonk who contributed much to the design of ObamaCare. Notwithstanding Gruber’s insistence that “I was not the ‘architect’ of President Obama’s health care plan,” he played an enormous role in its construction and was quite proud of that role until Tuesday.

In numerous venues, Gruber arrogantly told many tales about lies Democrats fed the American people about ObamaCare before its passage. Those comments opened a can of worms Democrats would rather have kept under wraps.

To Congress, Gruber offered an apology for saying “mean and insulting,” and “uninformed and glib” things about the intelligence of American voters: “I knew better. I know better. I’m embarrassed and I’m sorry.” Nevertheless, clinging to his popped balloon, Gruber stressed that “my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act.”

But Issa summed up why this is so critical, telling Gruber, “You made a series of troubling statements that were not only an insult to the American people, but revealed a pattern of intentional misleading [of] the public about the true nature of ObamaCare.”

One of the congressmen angriest with Gruber was Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). “As far as I can tell,” he growled, “we are here today to beat up on Jonathan Gruber for stupid … comments he made over the last few years. … They were irresponsibly, incredibly disrespectful, and did not reflect reality.” But worse, Cummings complained, “Dr. Gruber’s statements gave Republicans a public relations gift in their relentless political campaign to tear down the ACA and eliminate health care for millions of Americans!” But Cummings disclaimed any responsibility for the Democrats’ scamming the American public. “I was in Congress when this law was debated, and Dr. Gruber does not speak for me. … Never once did I believe or did anyone suggest that we were somehow hiding our goals from the American people!”

I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing! Cummings is only mad because Gruber gave the game away.

Rep. Patrick McHenry told Gruber that, in a sense, at least he appreciated the professor’s honesty about the intentional lack of transparency in planning ObamaCare. “Dr. Gruber … as everyone knows … when the president said if you like your plan you can keep it, it turns out it was the lie of the year. This was a very significant thing. … [A]ccording to the North Carolina Department of insurance, 473,000 lost their health insurance because of ObamaCare. … When I think about my constituents, though, did you think that there would be such a large number of folks that would lose their health insurance?”

Gruber replied, “What I was focused on was the net increase in newly insured we had under the law, which has been quite substantial.” So he wasn’t focused on the “folks” (as Obama likes to call us) but on projected statistics of newly insured – or so he said. And the increase has in fact not been substantial.

McHenry continued, “So it’s not relevant to your calculation that there would be people that would lose their health insurance?”

Gruber admitted, “That was part of the calculation.” When asked if that was part of his conversations at the White House, though, he insisted, “I don’t recall.”

Reportedly, Gruber received $400,000 for his consulting services with the administration, but his total haul for health policy consulting is much higher. When asked for specific figures on his income, he referred an astonished Issa to his counsel.

“We’re going to have to serve a subpoena. … It’s amazing you haven’t given us one number,” Issa said. “Likely, you’re going to be back here again.”

The committee members returned to this question repeatedly throughout the remainder of the meeting, getting the same smug response to refer to Gruber’s counsel. No doubt, Gruber will be on the hot seat again, and let’s hope he squirms the entire time.

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