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ACA Revisionism
Gruber Took the Measure of the ACA

This week MIT economist and health care advisor Jonathan Gruber appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to apologize for his controversial comments on the Affordable Care Act and the “stupidity” of the American public. WaPo:

“In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong,” Gruber told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “It is never appropriate to try to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I know better. I knew better. I am embarrassed and I am sorry.” […]

“I’m a professor of economics at MIT. I’m not a politician nor a political advisor,” Gruber said, stressing that his role with the administration was purely technical. “I did not draft Governor Romney’s health care plan, and I was not the ‘architect’ of President Obama’s health care plan.”

Gruber’s attempt to downplay his role in the ACA is unconvincing, for reasons we suggested here. But the most damming comments by Gruber were not his “glib” words about the American public but his accurate analysis of the Affordable Care Act. For instance, in one of the videos that became controversial, Gruber is taped saying “What the American public cares about is costs. And that’s why even though the bill that they made is 90% health insurance coverage and 10% about cost control, all you ever hear people talk about is cost control.” That is not glib; regardless of whether you think the law was sold deceptively in the way Gruber suggests, his understanding of the law’s focus on coverage over cost is correct. Whether or not Gruber was “the architect” of the law, whether or not his more noxious comment can fairly be associated with the law, he understands the law—and that is damming enough.

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  • stan

    Gruber told the truth. Then he was sworn in. Best lines in the hearing —

    Issa: Following up on Mr Gowdy, when you made these repeated comments, these glib,inappropriate comments in an Intellectual community with lots of other like-minded people, did anybody come up to you and tell you that what you were saying was inappropriate?

    Gruber: Ummm, not that I can recall. No.

    Issa: I guess what you said was popular in that community.

  • Boritz

    “ I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong,”

    No, his tone implied that he is a political neophyte who doesn’t grasp the basics of when to keep your mouth shut.  That’s precisely why his comments are damning.

  • FriendlyGoat

    C’mon, TAI, all this Gruber stuff is a tempest in a teapot. The right has never had a plan to get rid of pre-existing conditions as the trick in national underwriting. The right has never offered any comprehensive solution except selling (unspecified, lightly regulated) insurance across state lines and prattling on about (unspecified) tort reform.

    As for cost control, you can have it any day the new Congress decides to force all medical pricing into the light of day. Key word, force.
    Because as long as secrecy is allowed, secrecy will rule. The medical business community has proved that for 30 years.

    • armst

      No….you are wrong. Gruber goes right to the heart of what is wrong in America. Elites think they know everything and are better than the rest of us and have the right and need to tell us what to do and how to do it. His comments tell all. His Hill appearance was all CYA and damage control…and obamacare aint about health or caring…its about wealth seizure, redistribution and power….

      • FriendlyGoat

        Yes, the elites decided on “enhanced interrogation” (embarrassing the USA as torturers) and carried it on in several secret locations precisely because “they think they know everything and are better than the rest of us and have the right and need to tell us what to do and how to do it.”

        Meanwhile, you did not address any details on the political right’s solutions for healthcare. No one ever does in any credible way.

        • Fred

          Well, FG you could start here (a defense of which is here), here, and here

          • FriendlyGoat

            Or, you could just say something yourself.

  • Jerome Ogden

    From a future
    “To mesmerize”means hypnotizing someone, From Franz Anton Mesmer,18th century hypnotist.
    “To boycott” means to abstain from buying or using. From Captain C.C. Boycott, Irish landlord.
    “To lynch” means hanging by a mob without a trial. From Charles Lynch, Virginia sheriff.

    “To gruber” means (1) to promote a policy by lying, deception and obfuscation.(2) to rely on the
    stupidity of American democratic party voters and congressmen to enact
    legislation. From Jonathan Gruber, architect of Obamacare.

    Usage note: Correct usage requires the object of this transitive verb to be both stupid and a
    democrat. Example: “Wow, Nancy, you grubered the rubes good on that one!”

  • Ted Seay


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