The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obamacare: the gift that keeps on giving … headaches, cramps, nausea, and economic insecurity. The list goes on.
From its unseemly beginnings as a one-party creation in smoky back rooms that passed a Congress dominated in both houses by Democrats, without being read and debated by anyone, with only Democrats voting for it and with few Americans supporting it, the ACA is a vast array of failings.
It’s not an absolute and total failure; nothing is perfect.
But nearly all of its promises were broken, as many had predicted: you most likely can’t keep your doctor or your insurance plan if you like them; you probably aren’t going to save $2,500 a year in premium payments; and if you see more choice, more competition, and lower costs in healthcare, you will be among an infinitesimally small minority to do so.
Jonathan Gruber has now told the world in a series of recently discovered videos how, in designing the ACA, Congressional Democrats and their staffs employed deception and opaqueness to sneak the law past the American public.
He is an MIT economics professor, the architect of the Massachusetts healthcare plan known as Romneycare that was the model for Obamacare, and who also helped the Democrats create their version of a national healthcare system that most Americans didn’t want.
In a video from October of 2013 Dr. Gruber admits that a “lack of transparency” was a blessing for the Obama administration and congressional Democrats in passing the ACA. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he 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.”
In another video, he said, “So it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money – it would not have passed.” … “That was really, really critical for the thing to pass,” he said. “But I’d rather have this law than not.”
In effect he was saying: “I’d rather not have mugged that old lady and stolen her groceries, but I’d rather have had food to eat than not.”
Efforts by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) and President Obama to distance themselves from the good professor fell well short of the mark: videos, you know.
Of course, all of this under-handedness was for our own good, you know, and if we just weren’t so stupid they wouldn’t have had to deceive us to give us what they insist we need.
But, however, we aren’t all stupid. Some of us knew all along that this bill was a sham and the promises couldn’t be kept, and that at its base Obamacare really is nothing more than a system to control the people and a huge redistribution of wealth from the young and healthy to the old and unhealthy.
And then there is Barack Obama, himself; President of the United States, leader of the free world, who not only made many promises for the ACA that didn’t come true (did he lie to the people, or just not know what he was talking about?), and over the years said twenty or more times that he can’t act alone on immigration. “That’s not how democracy works.” “That’s not how our Constitution is written.” “I can’t solve this problem by myself.” What he didn’t say, in so many words, is: “Unless I have to act alone because Congress won’t give me the bill that I want, and so I will just do whatever I please.”
And last week he did act alone to circumvent both Congress and the existing laws on immigration and illegal alien deportation to order ICE to ignore up to 5 million illegal aliens in the country, all the while falsely claiming he was doing nothing more than any other president in the last 50 years. Except that he was. The presidential acts alluded to were in response to Congressional action, not because of a lack thereof.
The process of writing and passing the ACA was one devoid of honesty and integrity. Mr. Obama’s issuing of an Executive Order countermanding existing laws on immigration because Congress won’t obey his “orders” is an exercise in petulance, arrogance and overstepping his Constitutional bounds.
Both of these situations reflect the idea that Congressional Democrats and the president think they know better than the people that elected them, and that they are paid to serve what is good for them and for the country, and they have yet again shown that they will do whatever is necessary to achieve their narrow goals, and legal and moral processes be damned. This the-ends-justify-the-means tactic reflects a level of arrogance and hubris that would make the Founders nauseous.
Our Constitution lays out a framework for doing things in our government that worked very well until we started changing it.
Allowing any president to unilaterally extend the power of the executive is dangerous and foolish. Every true American in Congress must oppose this.
James Shott is a columnist for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, and publishes his columns on several Websites, including his own, Observations.