Obamacare

On Second Occasion, Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Says States That Don't Set Up Exchanges Lose Access to Obamacare Subsidies

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Jonathan Gruber, MIT

Last night, a video surfaced showing Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber saying in January 2012 that if states do not set up their own exchanges under Obamacare, they lose access to the law.

The clip was important because Gruber is an influential health policy analyst who helped author parts of Obamacare and consulted with multiple states on the implementation of health insurance exchanges under the law.

The statement he made in the video, that "if you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits, aligned closely with the plain language of the law, which plainly states that subsidies are only available state-established exchanges, as well as the argument made by legal challengers who have argued in court that the Obama administration's implementation of the law—which allowed subsidies in federally run exchanges via an Internal Revenue Service rule—is illegal.

The timing was also notable. Gruber made the statement in January 2012, before the paper laying out the legal case against the administration's implementation had been published, and before the legal challenge against it had been filed. 

Gruber has over the past year and a half repeatedly taken the other side of the argument, saying on MSNBC this week, "It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it's a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states."

This morning, in response to the clip, Gruber told The New Republic that the comment was a mistake. "I honestly don't remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake," he said.

He continued: "There was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn't take that step" [of creating their own exchanges]. That's clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo."

But as it turns out, earlier in the same month as the original clip, he made essentially the same point, using similar language, once again calling the possibility that states won't set up their own exchanges a "threat" to the law and saying explicitly that residents in states that don't set up their own exchanges would not have access to tax credits.

In a January 10, 2012, speech to the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, he said the following: 

The third risk, and the one folks aren't talking about, which may be most important of all, is the role of the states. Through a political compromise, it was decided that states should play a critical role in running these health insurance exchanges. And health insurance exchanges are the centerpiece of this reform, because they are the place that individuals can go to shop for their new, securely priced health insurance. But if they are not set up in a way which is transparent, and which is convenient for shoppers, and which allow people to take their tax credits and use them effectively by health insurance, it will undercut the whole purpose of the bill.

Now a number of states have expressed no interest in doing so. A number of states—like California, has been a real leader—one of, I think it was the first state to pass an exchange bill. It's been a leader in setting up its exchange. It's a great example. But California is rare. Only about 10 states have really moved forward aggressively on setting up their exchanges. A number of states have even turned down millions of dollars in federal government grants as a statement of some sort—they don't support health care reform.

Now, I guess I'm enough of a believer in democracy to think that when the voters in states see that by not setting up an exchange the politicians of a state are costing state residents hundreds and millions and billions of dollars, that they'll eventually throw the guys out. But I don't know that for sure. And that is really the ultimate threat, is, will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn't set up an exchange, you're losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens. [emphasis added]

Gruber reiterates in the speech that he "helped the Obama administration" craft the legislation. 

If this is another mistake, it is an awfully strange one that just happens to match not only the statement he made a week later, but also the plain language of the health law and the argument advanced by legal challengers to the IRS rule allowing subsidies within Obamacare's federal exchanges.

Update: Gruber says that these remarks were also mistakes. MSNBC's Adam Serwer contacted him about the second clip:

Gruber told The New Republic that he had made a mistake

"I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it," Gruber told The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn. "But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn't take that step. That's clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo."

A second recording has surfaced showing Gruber making similar statements about subsidies not being available on federally run exchanges. Asked over email whether those remarks were a mistake, too, Gruber wrote back, "same answer." 

Listen to the clip, via John Sexton at Breitbart:

A recording of Gruber's complete January 10, 2012, remarks to the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco is available here

(This post has been updated for clarity and to add some information.) 

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  1. I have waited years, YEARS for the sweet sweet tears of Jonathan Gruber. This is so great.

    1. You may be the worst, but I have to join in your revelry…

      1. Worst to first…

    2. This really is just overflowing with awesome.

    3. ” Through a political compromise, it was decided that states should play a critical role in running these health insurance exchanges.”

      Thus it is a key feature of the law, not a mistake, misunderstanding, or typo.

      1. Someone needs to put this fucker under oath and conduct a deposition.

        1. Someone needs to put this fucker under oath and conduct a deposition.

          Someone needs to put this fucker under a guillotine and pull the lever.

    4. Can this please turn into Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg bleeding out of his head trying to explain this to the boss?

    5. What’s up with this meme that you’re this awful person? Personally, you seem very nice.

      1. She’s very nice for being the absolute worst.

      2. It says so in the Reason wiki:
        http://reason-magazine.wikia.com/wiki/Nicole

        1. Oh yeah, I meant to add to that the last time this came up. So many more commenters to discuss. I’m not where to start…. Pro Lib’s immortality? SugarFree’s fear of candy? Epi’s mom?

          1. i think that’s why the list is empty. where to start.

      3. Thank you, Notorious. I am both the best, and the worst.

        1. And that ain’t bad.

        2. Thank you, Notorious. I am both the best, and the worst.

          I’m bad, and that’s good.
          I will never be good, and that’s not bad.
          There’s no one I’d rather be than me.

    6. I suspect with his dishonesty and party line towing, Gruber will be a presidential candidate in the future.

      Then again maybe I’m too cynical and can’t enjoy the little victories.

      1. Saright, you can be cynical in reality. He was paid 6 figures for his advice on crafting the BehemothCare.

  2. Why do lefty men always have the most effeminate, clearly-beta manner of speech?

    1. Because feminine is just so much better than masculine.

      Seriously…that is the reason.

    2. beta

      First off a beta wolf is still a fucking wolf.

      Seriously these animals take down other animals 5 times their weight. Being a beta while being one of the most successful alpha predators ever is awesome.

      Second wolves are not humans. Beta and alpha does not even make sense with our species.

  3. Remember when the White House was frantically trying to use whatever fuzzy math possible to make the number of Obamacare signups match some predetermined level that would indicate the law’s success? My understanding is this court decision will cause a good number of those people to lose their insurance. Whoops.

    1. I’m unclear on all of this, please correct me if I’m wrong, but basically Obamacare will result in millions fewer people having health insurance than before the legislation was passed.

      1. Except now those poor saps will have to fork over a penalty tax for the pleasure.

      2. The interesting thing about these revelations will be how Obama gets around any restrictions on the ACA. It’s the holy grail of progressivism and they won’t give up when it’s this close to their grasp.

      3. Yes, but only because of Republicans. And, Bush.

  4. “That was a double speak-o! HAPPENS ALL THE TIME!!”

    1. I wonder how many other videos Breitbart is holding for release when Gruber claims this was just another “speak-o”.

      1. An amusing thought.

    2. MISFIRE: Wait 10 seconds, keep muzzle toward enemy. After 10 seconds, rearm your excuse and press firing toggle again. If second attempt does not work, enter rehab and claim it was drugs/booze/sex addiction that made you do it. See unit armorer for “Right Wing Conspiracy” heavy duty excuses.

      1. You mean you’re not supposed to look down the muzzle to find what’s blocking it up?

        1. I know a mortar PLT LDR who lost a couple of fingers and both thumbs … “I’ll just lift the tube with this hangfire in it…”

          Of course, this same guy showed up as a senior in ROTC, reeking of rum and trying to teach a radio class.

          1. +1 cookoff

          2. There’s Stupid, and then there’s Army Stupid.

  5. So, he’s a lying POS. Big surprise.

  6. “You too can help us in the fight against this terrible affliction… Speak-o Syndrome! Those suffering from this cannot control themselves in speaking inconvenient facts that impede Revolutionary Truth. Give, today and help prevent this from happening again!”

    /Center for Prog Disorders

  7. “I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake,” he said.

    Seems to be a metric shitton of “mistakes” surrounding this abomination.

    1. Are you serious? Are you serious?

      1. No, he meant to measure it in Imperial Shittons.

    2. He could always try he just heard about his statement for the first time in the media a few days ago. It seems to work for Obama.

      1. He’s not the President so he won’t get that kind of pass.

  8. The clip was important because Gruber is an influential health policy analyst who helped author parts the law and consulted with multiple states on the implementation of their exchanges.

    Well, at least we have someone we can blame.

  9. Quit putting words into his mouth, Suderman. Or rather, quit taking words from his mouth and putting it into the intention.

    1. Words don’t matter; the plain language as written into the law don’t matter; what they said about the law at the time it was being written don’t matter. All that matters is their (claimed after the fact) INTENTIONS.

    2. There’s a spirit to this law. And the spirit of the law is whatever the Obama administration says it is which will deflect criticism.

    3. Progressives don’t care if their people lie.

      They’re expected to lie, actually. If you don’t lie for the progressive cause, you’re not really trying.

      The reason they get away with it is because their constituents expect them to lie. When libertarians and conservative leaders lie to their constituents, their constituents are ashamed of them.

      Not so with progressives. If this guy plays his cards right, he could end up with his own show on MSNBC.

      1. Yep, the ends justify the means.

      2. A prog I know was offering $500 bets that Obama would win reelection.

        His reasoning was that Obama would lie and Romney would not.

        And he was happy about that.

      3. That’s hate speech. Pack your bags, you’re going to camping to make you a move loving person.

  10. “And that is really the ultimate threat, is, will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens.”

    In addition to everything else, it’s a really crass statement, isn’t it?

    They were trying to buy people’s support off by promising free money to some and withholding it from others.

    1. That’s how we got the 21-drinking age, lower limits on DUI’s, the 55-mph speed limit, and a ton of other shit. The Feds threatened to withhold the states’ allowances.

      1. Yeah, but this is that laid bare.

        It’s like looking for backward masking on a Black Metal album. Nevermind what it says backwards–can you see what it says played normal?

        Yeah, I see where he’s full of crap. But look what he’s doing with all that bullshit. How often do you hear Obama Administration operatives say things that amount to: Yeah, we’re going to squeeze the balls of the governors who oppose us until they finally say “uncle”?

        21-drinking age was to save lives, 55-mph speed limit was the same thing–ObamaCare was to help the working poor.

        But who explicitly says, “We’ve go the governors by the balls”? …and isn’t that what he’s saying?

  11. so it was obviously intentionally designed that way. designed to fuck over residents of states that allowed the federal takeover. and now 36 states’ residents will lose their subsidies.

    let’s see this MIT economist try to weasel under the convergence of shit and fan.

    1. They aren’t going to lose their subsidy.

      Obama has a pen and a phone.

      This guy will now rise to the A-list on prog party lists.

      He’s gonna be a hero after he gets through lying his way through what little repercussions arise due to this.

      Lois Learner isn’t shamed by her society because she broke laws while using her position of power.

      She is exalted. These people don’t think like we do.

  12. Don’t believe your lying ears and eyes.

  13. I honestly don’t remember why I said that.

    It certainly wasn’t because your TEAM thought at the time you could successfully intimidate all those state legislatures into signing on to the program by telling them they’d have to pay for it themselves if they didn’t. That couldn’t be why.

    1. See: the National Maximum Speed Law (repealed in ’95), where states were ‘encouraged’ to enact a speed limit and funds were withheld absent compliance.

      Perhaps those states impacted could sue for highway funds owed, since the language in that law was pretty similar.

    1. Am I misreading Weigel, or is he admitting that this isn’t good for ACA?

      1. Even he can’t deny it. Although his commenters are.

        1. OMG, you’re telling me there’s an alternative universe where The Weigel has its own commenters?

          I can’t look myself. His writing burns my eyes.

      2. He’s saying that Gruber only said this in response to Cannon telling anyone who’d listen not to form an exchange. The plain text of the law is a typo, but they were using the plain text of the law to disingenuously threaten doom on uncooperative governors. Thsi actually makes sense, since everyone associated with the Obama admin is incapable of arguing in good faith.

        1. Ah, that does make sense.

        2. It’s getting to the point I wonder why we even bother with laws. Just go full tinpot and be done with it.

    2. Is Weigel the most embarrassing this to happen to reason, or…well, what is it?

      1. I think it was embarrassing.

        The Washington Post hiring him somehow validated it for a while. Can you believe they hired him to explain libertarians and the Tea Party to their readers? As far as I could tell, he didn’t understand anything about libertarians! Hiring him to explain libertarians and the Tea Party to the world was like hiring Fidel Castro to explain capitalism to the world would have been!

        I don’t know, maybe that’s what they were going for–someone who knew the movement but secretly hated it? Funny that it blew up in their faces.

        Now he’s over at Slate? Somehow he’s parlayed his experience at Reason and the Washington Post into something like credibility? Far as I can tell, his only experience at Reason was to alienate his readers, and his experience at Washington Post was to embarrass the hell out of them so bad, he had to leave.

        That’s one hell of a track record!

  14. The original video went from around 1,000 to over 7,000 views in 12 hours. It will be interesting to track that number over the coming days…

    1. I watched the video where Chris Matthew’s asks him about it (I think Matthew’s was having a mini-stroke when he tried to ask the question) and Gruber is all like “Why would congress have fought out the mandate if the subsidies didn’t apply to everyone. Without the subsidies 99% of people can’t afford the insurance.”

      First off, congress didn’t “fight it out over the mandate”. Secondly, YOU designed the whole fucking system to be expensive.

      1. Why would they fight out the mandate? What the fuck is he talking about?

        He’s line of reasoning is absured. His explanation is based on Congress fighting over content. They didn’t read the fucking thing! The entire debate was purely philosophical.

        Democrats blindly played along and trusted TOP MEN to hash out the details so the Socialist Utopia could commence and now they’re drowning in their self created shitstorm. It’s actually quite glorious.

    2. Unless it can be brought before the Supremes that makes no difference other than public opinion.

      We know that public opinion makes no difference to our TOP MEN based on Roberts penaltax ruling.

  15. The intent was coercion of the states, but the states didn’t bite for the expense that they would incur in the out years.

  16. if states do not set up their own exchanges under Obamacare, they lose access to the law.

    The horror! The horror!

    “I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake,”

    Some people are utterly without shame. A decent person would crawl in a hole and wait to die if he was caught in a blatant lie that’s going to wind up costing more than a few people their lives.

  17. The New Republic sums it up nicely.

    This is some very good reporting and sleuthing by Radia and Weinstein. I obviously can’t speak to what Gruber was thinking at the time. But it doesn’t change my view that the architects of Obamacare wanted everybody to have subsidies, no matter what decision their state officials made about the marketplaces.

    I just know that unicorns exist!

    1. The government likes to argue that they should follow the spirit, not the letter, of the law. Unfortunately, they don’t accept such arguments from us peasants, and routinely throw people in prisons for doing exactly that.

      1. Also, the spirit of the law doesn’t necessarily mean “what they said they were trying to do at the time they passed it”.

    2. In their heart of hearts, they really did have the very best of intentions despite what they said publicly on multiple occasions at the time.

    3. They also wanted everyone to have generous Medicaid benefits. The fact that the law deliberately removed -all- Medicaid funding from states that didn’t bow to the will of the King was just a…

      typo.

    4. But it doesn’t change my view that the architects of Obamacare wanted everybody to have subsidies

      Probably the architects of the NSA wanted to spy on everyone, but that’s not what the law says, either.

  18. Peter- what are the odds any of your peers come out and admit they were wrong? Brian Beutler loves to accuse others of being a hack, same with Chait and Klein and others of that ilk who simply claim to be impartial technocrats, yet defend the left and Obama no matter what.

    I can’t imagine how frustrating that must be, especially since (I think) you run in the same circles. (Or at least cross paths at the kocktail partiez)

    1. In terms of vapidity and mendacity, Beutler is on par with the 2nd tier authors — Streif, Neil Stevens, etc. — on RedState. You can’t expect hacks like that to concede a point.

      And Suder Man only attends kochtail parties.

  19. The employer mandate is triggered, in part, on whether subsidies are available. If subsides are always available (for state or Fed exchanges), then that part of the law becomes meaningless and another casualty of avoiding the plain text of when subsidies are available.

    The IRS Employer Mandate Loophole
    …The most well-known part of the employer mandate requires employers to provide “qualified coverage” or pay a penalty of $2,000 per full-time employee (after the first 30, if they have at least 50). Less widely known is a special penalty that applies only to companies that do offer coverage: a $3,000 penalty for each employee who qualifies for, and accepts, a federal premium subsidy for coverage purchased through the state-based exchanges….

    1. Good point.

    2. that seems like the much more important part of this deal to me.

    3. The penalty is not about subsidies being available, it’s about whether an employee accepts them.

      If your employer’s insurance is unaffordable, per a formula that some Gruber-like smarty pants came up with, and you go and buy insurance on an exchange instead, the government be all like “Oh, fuck that shit! Pay us a fine, Mr. Employer.”

  20. Lying to support Obama is okay. He’s like the King, and he gets to lie whenever he wants. So, lying to support him must be okay.

  21. Jonathan Gruber had to pass the speak-o to know what was in it.

  22. What difference, at this point, does it make! We need to Move On! Fake scandal!

    1. If you like your subsidy, you can keep it.

  23. Does this mean the law is invalidated in the 36 states that don’t offer the subsidies? Can people in those 36 states be penaltaxed if the law is voided in their state? Cuz I live in NY but I’m willing to move to another state to get out from under this bullshit…and Common Core.

    1. The penaltax doesn’t get voided.

      The effect of this, as far as I can see, would be:

      1. Fuck you, you still have to buy insurance.

      2. Fuck you, you get no subsidy.

      3. Fuck you, if you can’t afford insurance without the subsidy and don’t buy it, we will penaltax your ass into oblivion.

      Of course, Obama has instructed the IRS to not actually enforce the penaltax. Even though opposing the penaltax in Congress or before the SCOTUS was something only a wrecker and a madman would do.

      1. Of course, Obama has instructed the IRS to not actually enforce the penaltax.

        What does that mean, exactly? I saw that 2014 tax forms are out, and they’ve got the penaltax line. Do I write in the box “Obama told me to ignore this for now”?

        1. “Do I write in the box “Obama told me to ignore this for now”?”

          I think you have to quote the royal decree and the date. Along with the official salute.

        2. I think the idea is that you commit income tax evasion, on the promise that Obama won’t enforce it for this particular case.

          I can understand being unwilling to enforce laws that are so damn old and so obviously unconstitutional that, as an executive, you don’t want to bother with creating a SCOTUS case while you wait for the legislature to devote some time and energy into possibly repealing a law.

          However, when we’re not willing to enforce your our own great ideas that are only a few years old, I think we should to some self-refection.

          1. Brian|7.25.14 @ 7:10PM|#
            “I think the idea is that you commit income tax evasion, on the promise that Obama won’t enforce it for this particular case.”

            But not if you are a company! No, no!

    2. Nope. It means that people in those states will be penaltaxed for not buying insurance even though they can’t get subsidies to buy insurance.

      1. I though you could dodge the penaltax by showing that insurance would cost more than a certain % of your income.

        Now that the subsidies are going away and prices will skyrocket, it should be easy for a lot of people to claim hardship.

        1. Could be. I really don’t know much, and I care even less, about the minutiae of how to extract the maximum number of nickels from welfare programs.

    3. As a practical matter, if the courts decide against the administration then I suspect a patch will get through Congress pretty easily. But it would be a nice win for common sense, however small.

      1. I suspect a patch will get through Congress pretty easily

        Once the Dems open the door for an amendment of OCare, the Repubs are going to come piling on with all sorts of stuff.

        Not easy. My money is on not happening at all.

        1. Ya, screw a patch. Should go back to demanding total repeal.

          1. Exactly. A patch is not only stupid, it’s a total sucker bet. Repeal the goddamn thing and start over.

        2. Maybe. But this will be the narrative:

          Due to a technicality in the language of the law, millions of struggling Americans will be forced to pay more out of pocket for their health care. And, once again, the Republicans are holding poor and middle class Americans hostage for political gain. The irony is, many people who stand to lose because of this Supreme Court decision and Republican brinksmanship live in States controlled by Republicans. It’s time for Republicans in Congress to decide who they really work for: the people who actually voted them into office, or wealthy donors who are fighting an ideological battle against me [Obama].

          I’d bet good money that is the line they use. You think Republican leadership will stand up against that?

          1. The leadership? No. The rank-and-file, yes.

          2. The answer is, “This is your life. This is your life on ObamaCare. Now, do we repeal it or not?”

    4. If the SC rules against the subsidies, then the whole thing would be renegotiated. Having the Senate in Republican hands could be a really big deal–if we want to get rid of ObamaCare.

      A renegotiated ObamaCare would probably look very different. I suspect the Medicaid expansion would stay. The prohibition against discriminating against people with prior conditions would probably stay.

      The individual mandate would almost certainly go in a renegotiation. Or, if it stayed, it might take the form of something like a health savings account, where you write off health insurance from your taxes and/or the money you spend on healthcare isn’t considered part of your taxable earnings, etc., etc.

      But if Republicans have both the House and the Senate when and if the SC strikes down the subsidies, it will be quickly renegotiated. If they can’t negotiate it quickly enough, there will be exemptions. All those people who were getting subsidies for healthcare are going to be extremely pissed off, though.

      I hope they replace Boehner before we get to that point. He’ll sell free market principles down the river at that point, you’ll think he’s working for Barack Obama.

      1. I already think he works for Obama.

        Or at least with him.

      2. I’m unclear on what there is to “negotiate”. The law cannot function as written. If it’s overturned by the Court then it no longer has any effect. The insurance companies and the government agencies in question simply must revert their practices to be in compliance with the new current law. Which, post-repeal, is the same as the law prior to the passage of Obamacare. With whom are we negotiating? And why?

        1. The Democrats and Republicans will be negotiating to do something about all those people left in the lurch.

          I’m not saying that’s the way it should be. I’m saying that’s the way it is.

          Given the way Congress is, this is what’s like to happen:

          1) ………..

          2) ………..

          3) ………..

          I think there’s a wonderful magical world where things suddenly change into the way they should be; unfortunately, we don’t live in that world, and we probably never will. So, we have to live in the world where…

          *John Boehner is the Speaker of the House–because that’s what the majority of Republicans in the House want.

          *We need Barack Obama to sign any reformed legislation because he’s the President.

          *The American people are still statists in their empty, precious heads

          So, given the way things are, when and if the floor falls out of the subsidies, it will drive Obama and the Democrats to the negotiating table. …to negotiate with our retarded Republican cousins in the House.

          1. “So, given the way things are, when and if the floor falls out of the subsidies, it will drive Obama and the Democrats to the negotiating table.”

            You’re assuming that the SC will strike the subsidies and leave the rest of the law intact. I don’t think they’ll do that.

            And even if they don’t, Boehner can’t pass legislation all by himself.

            1. “You’re assuming that the SC will strike the subsidies and leave the rest of the law intact. I don’t think they’ll do that.”

              Well they already left it intact before, and in the majority opinion, Roberts wrote, “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices”. This was in response to the suggestion that people only buying insurance when they were sick would wreck the system.

              Why wouldn’t they remain consistent with that decision?

              Why would they suddenly reverse themselves on every other question they’ve already decided–rather than just the new one?

              “And even if they don’t, Boehner can’t pass legislation all by himself.”

              Don’t get me wrong! Our retarded Republican cousins in the House are the good guys in that negotiation. That’s why we’re not going to get the Libertopia solution. We’re just going to get something better than we have now.

              And the reason the Republicans are so retarded? Is because that’s what so many retarded, statist, American voters want.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRrISZAF7lo

              Obama certainly isn’t going to sign anything even more libertarian than what the Republicans in the House propose. And why would they fight for something more libertarian than they are?

      3. “The individual mandate would almost certainly go in a renegotiation. Or, if it stayed, it might take the form of something like a health savings account, where you write off health insurance from your taxes and/or the money you spend on healthcare isn’t considered part of your taxable earnings, etc., etc.”

        Progressive and Obamacare supporters seems to really dislike the idea of health savings account, or really anything that leads to autonomy or choice w/r/t healthcare. I think they’d fight HSA’s tooth and nail. I hope not, though.

  24. Would you believe think-o?

  25. Now they have Max Baucus on tape saying the same thing in a hearing.

    The progs don’t care, of course. It’s OK to lie if that’s what increases the power of the state. It’s also OK to lie if that allows you to give out taxpayer money. So they have double protection on the whole lying thing.

    1. Fluffy, got a link to Baucus saying that?

        1. I’m not hearing him say that in this piece.

  26. The definitive write-up on why this isn’t a typo or oversight:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa…..id=2106789

    Aside from the wording and structure of the law, there is Senator Baucus saying, during a committee hearing while the law was being drafted and debated, that subsidies would be denied to any state that didn’t have is own exchange in order to incentivize them to set up their own exchanges.

    One overlooked factoid here is that the feds lack the authority to require states to do stuff like set up exchanges. They have to be bribed into doing it (e.g., conditioning highway funds on the drinking age). The feds have to “convince” states to do this stuff. Its usually done with just a truckload of cash, but there wasn’t cash to be spared if projections on cost, etc. were going to be met. So, this is what they did instead.

    1. RCD, got a link to Baucus saying that?

      1. See footnote 136, starting on page 156, of the paper linked above.

    2. I read the transcript of Baucus’s statements. Maybe it is just because of context, but they seemed more muddled to me, and not as definitive.

      1. Its pretty muddled, yeah, but c’mon, he’s a Senator, so he’s not very bright.

        Plus, its the only thing in the record on why this was drafted and passed the way it was.

        1. It’s only muddled because they are speaking legalize. The question was how they had the jurisdiction to change state laws on healthcare. Baucus states that tax credits (the subsidies) would be conditional.

  27. Speaking of insane hackery =

    If this bullshit where people are climbing over each other to claim that the language of Obamacare… uh, “Doesnt really say what it says in plain English… and, er…. no one meant what it says even if it does say that…”?

    …If this minor “Speak-o” problem doesn’t take the cake for 2014 Up-is-Down / Black-is-White-Award, I vote for =

    Anyone who criticizes Obama’s handling of the Bo Bergdahl issue is saying ‘We Might As Well Leave Soldiers Behind to Die’ and hates America

    the entire piece is a ‘tacit rebuttal’ to un-named and un-quoted ‘critics’ of the Administration and of Bergdahl….

    …who, when I asked the author who he was referring to, clarified that it was ‘responses to Bergdahls fellow platoon-mates’.

    Who are never mentioned in the piece.

    I was told it should have been ‘obvious’ that was what was intended. What seemed ‘obvious’ to me was that the writer (eric schmitt) purposefully *left them out* of the story in order to make it seem as though “critics” were “anti-military”… and not, you know, ‘soldiers who actually served with the jerk’

  28. No, I didn’t. Honest… I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!

  29. securely priced

    That’s the first time I’ve seen securely used as a euphemism for obscenely.

    1. The price is very secure, at an obscenely high level.

  30. I’m sure that blank alt-text was just a typo.

    1. Man, that photo is just BEGGING!

  31. Just for fun, here’s a couple of quotes from Roberts that could easily be cited in support of blocking the IRS rule and leaving the plain language as is:

    “We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies.”

    Meaning, don’t come crying to us to fix your crappy bill for you. Any argument that limiting credits to state exchanges is bad policy or unworkable or unfair – tough. SCOTUS will not adopt a different reading just because we think its better policy to make credits available through the federal exchanges.

    It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

    The decision to have states set up exchanges was a political decision. The decision to incentivize them by withholding tax credits if they didn’t was a political decision. The states that elected to have, or not have, exchanges each made a political decision. The fact that these political decisions mean that the law doesn’t work as well as it might, or imposes unfair burdens on some people (or windfalls on other people) does not fall within the Court’s purview.

    1. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

      I hated Roberts for that in his ACA opinion. Stupidity to the point of not even knowing his fracking job.

      But now there’s a bright shiny side to that coin.

      1. Roberts was in a tough spot on that one. I agree it was a bad decision, but he also looked at it in terms of being an election year and knowing that Obama was going to run the line about “unelected officials changing our laws” into the ground. He likely saw it as a potential opening for Obama to gain the popular support to pack or undermine the Court. As Chief Justice, he’s got responsibilities to protect the institution of the Supreme Court as well as to interpret the law.

        So he reclassified Obamacare as a tax (which it is), told the people who were dumb enough to elect Obama “Good luck with that” and left the American public to suffer the consequences of what they chose.

        The more time goes by, the less I hate his decision.

        1. Also, judging by the number of unanimous decisions he’s helped form against Obama administration overreaches, I’m inclined to cut him a break on Obamacare. Extenuating circumstances and all that.

  32. AHHH. I heard these same words were used 4-5 times in the ACA law itself. The IRS ruled the cheapest bronze plan has $20,000 worth of deductibles and out of pocket expenses, it also said that was 3 kids and a married couple. Just wait till Joe blow sixpac finds out how much he really has to pay. People got to feel the pain to get angry about it. And brother they ain’t gonna forget the D’s and Obie DID it to them.

  33. Trust me, little Johnny Gruber ain’t going to getting HIS health insurance from anything associated with this thing being discussed.

    Socialism is for the people, not the socialist.

  34. Gruber is a lying douchebag who will literally say anything in support of his current message.

    Oops, sorry. That was just a typo. I meant to say that Gruber is a wonderful, honorable person who was victimized by partisans who have clearly twisted what he was saying.

    Someone should tell him that completely changing the meaning of your words isn’t a typo. Examples of typos would be if I said that he was a duckhead, a shirtstain, or an addhole.

  35. “A second recording has surfaced showing Gruber making similar statements about subsidies not being available on federally run exchanges.

    Asked over email whether those remarks were a mistake, too, Gruber wrote back, “same answer.”

    The MSNBC piece just goes, “Well OK Then!” to that.

    I assume the next statement will be, “All future discoveries of comments i may have made in the past suggesting that I held a different interpretation of the Affordable Care Act were/are/will be ALSO mistaken…”

    Reminding me of the line from Brass Eye…

    “My father molested me nonstop between the ages of 8 and 16”
    “But it hasn’t happened recently?”
    “No…”
    “Good! next we speak to…”

  36. We insist that you accept that even with decades of preparation and the resources of the entire federal government, our best and brightest are incapable of writing legislation that isn’t riddled with errors, omissions, and logical impossibilities. We’re just too careless and stupid to manage it.

    Therefore you must now ignore the reams of garbled nonsense we claimed to be the product of careful deliberation. Simply accept that you do exactly what we tell you do to at any given moment and support us as we continue to claim that each new dikat has always been and always will be the most settled of laws. We haven’t given up on you yet, America, so don’t let us down.

    You’re welcome.
    -The Democrats

  37. you know who else was a gruber?

  38. You gotta get your fix somehow, I guess. I’ll get mine when this nonsense is tossed out of court.

    I can supply hundreds of hours of videos of actual legislators saying this law will put people in death camps. Does that make it true?

    1. I can supply hundreds of hours of videos of actual legislators saying this law will put people in death camps. Does that make it true?

      1. No, you can’t.
      2. Even if you could, none of those legislators actually authored the Senate bill as Baucus did.

      1. and the real standard is: Do you have any evidence they did not mean it when they said it.

    2. What words would you use to characterize that model health care system, the VA?

    3. “I can supply hundreds of hours of videos of actual legislators saying this law will put people in death camps. Does that make it true?”

      I can supply hundreds of your posts which are lies. Do you ever post without lying?

    4. No you can’t.

      Post one video of a member of the US Congress saying that the law will put people into death camps.

      DEATH. CAMPS. Double emphasis on CAMPS.

      Go on. I’ll wait.

      1. Er was it death panels. Whatever. No death panels to date. Are you suggesting that the Republican legislators who emphasized to a painful degree the importance of reading the bill were wrong about this and countless other horrors they promised? These weren’t just policy advisers, they were legislators voting on the bill. And THEY SAID THINGS. That must mean they’re true. Yet, no death panels. It is a genuine mystery.

        1. So IPAB has been repealed then? Or is that just another plain language reading? Remember how BarryCare was going to save families $2500 a year? Good times. Good times.

        2. Tony|7.25.14 @ 6:57PM|#
          …”No death panels to date”

          Yes, death panels. You may make up whatever euphemism you please, but there are or will be panels which decide whether or not to spend money prolonging a patient’s life. They have the power of life and death.
          —————–
          “Are you suggesting that the Republican legislators who emphasized to a painful degree the importance of reading the bill were wrong about this and countless other horrors they promised? ”

          No; they voted *against* it because of its complexity.

          1. Yeah I know Republicans don’t like to read.

            1. Tony|7.25.14 @ 10:55PM|#
              “Yeah I know Republicans don’t like to read.”

              Shitbag, I believe it was that putrid hag Pelosi who couldn’t quite read what she supposedly wrote.
              Do you EVER post without lying?

              1. It’s less lying than doublethink.

                It’s not that Tony is dishonest (although he is that). It’s that he’s not intelligent enough to engage in critical thinking and filter out logical or factual inconsistencies in his positions.

          2. If you want to directly reduce health care costs, then you’ll be advocating “death panels” (or whatever bureaucratese acronym is used) to cut down on the end-of-life care, which I understand to be one of main the things driving up costs. To deny that is dishonest, unless I’m wrong about the effect end-of-life care has on overall costs.

        3. “Tony|7.25.14 @ 6:57PM|#

          Er was it death panels. Whatever.”

          States exchanges. Federal exchanges. Whatever.
          – Legislators Authoring the ACA?

        4. “No death panels to date.”

          ACA, like all regulated health care systems, requires government “experts” to decide what is covered and what is not covered. Right now, a lot of money is sloshing in the system, but as fiscal realities set in, more and more limits will appear, just like they have elsewhere where such systems are in use.

          Of course, most patients will never find out that they had a treatment option because once it’s not covered by ACA, most doctors will have no obligation or incentive to tell their patients about it.

    5. Tony:

      I can supply hundreds of hours of videos of actual legislators saying this law will put people in death camps. Does that make it true?

      No, it doesn’t. Because I can’t find a place in the bill that says people go to death camps.

      However, I can find a place in the bill that says that subsidies only go for state exchanges.

      So, uh, we can supply that.

      Clearly, we should read bills to see what they say, amirite?

    6. Translation:

      Hey, look over there!!

      1. It’s hilarious, isn’t it?

        Progtard: Clearly, they didn’t mean that only state exchanges are eligible for subsidization when we said that only state exchanges are eligible for subsidization! I didn’t remember any conversation like that!

        Reasonable Person: Well, that’s what the bill says, and we can actually find architects describing it as functioning just like that.

        Progtard: Yeah, I remember lots of conversations that were wrong! What, you want to base your interpretation of the bill on conversations?

        Reasonable Person: OK, then let’s look at the will, which says that only state exchanges are eligible for subsidization.

        Protgard: I don’t remember any conversations like that!

    7. Tony|7.25.14 @ 5:34PM|#

      can supply hundreds of hours of videos of actual legislators saying this law will put people in death camps. Does that make it true?”

      There is no way that you post such ignorance without getting paid for it in some way.

      Tony how old were you when your father abandoned you/your family ?

    8. Oh, please do supply those “hundreds of hours of videos”. Of course, even if you did, it wouldn’t matter much, since nobody could actually read the bill before being forced to vote on it, so any speculation was fair.

      What people did say is that this will eventually lead to “death panels”, and that is correct: governmental panels in the US will have to decide which conditions get treated and which don’t.

      How do we know? Because that’s how government regulated health systems work everywhere else and because it’s economically inevitable.

      In addition, in places like Germany, 3/4 of the population die in health care facilities, as opposed to about 1/3 in the US, even though a majority in both countries prefer dying at home. So the term “death camps” (i.e., government mandated facilities where people go to die) isn’t entirely inaccurate either for ACA-like systems.

  39. It must be really tough for the trolls, clearly they are not getting any useful memes from the hive-mind.

  40. This is the hardship exemption for low income to avoid the penaltax:

    “The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income”

    Without the federal subsidy, this would be the lowest cost bronze plan on the exchange. At 58 (in NC) that is about $6,500 a year, which means the penaltax would not kick in until I make about $80k a year [I did not apply for a subsidy]

    The last minute raising of the annual deductible to lower bronze premiums was very much a part of this. If the $5500 Deductible was $2000 instead, the premium would have to be more like $800 a month, and the penaltax wouldn’t kick in until $120k

    Another exemption is if you were the victim of domestic violence – no potential for unintended consequences there!

    1. I’m the victim of domestic violence every April 15th. Where’s my subsidy?

  41. Here’s a great piece a listened to on NPR:
    Insurance For Fake Identities The Latest Skirmish Over Obamacare:

    Democrats question all the fuss.

    Second, any extra government subsidies that are given out because applicants claim they are poorer than they actually are would go to the insurance companies, not the applicants. Committee Democrats say most Americans are unlikely to lie on forms so insurance companies can benefit.

    You hear that? No one would fake their identity to get an insurance subsidy, because that just goes to insurance companies. Sure, if you kept that fake identity up, it still looks like a drastic reduction in premiums, and less out of pocket money spent on your part, but the subsidy really only goes to insurance companies. And, who wants to pay cheaper premiums for insurance just to give subsidies to insurance companies?

    Therefore, I don’t see what the big deal is. So what if lots of people in lots of states lose their subsidies. It’s just less money for the insurance companies. Why would anyone care about misinterpreting the law for the benefit of evil insurance companies?

    No subsidies? No big whoop.

    1. The way you know that argument is a lie is that they would never give us credit for thinking that far.

  42. Time to turn the mendacity up to eleven Barney Frank.

    1. “Time to turn the mendacity up to eleven Barney Frank.”

      For those of an age, it’s time to point out that certain statements are “no longer operative”.
      Maybe it’ll work for Obo, since he has the press as a lapdog.

  43. Was he lying then or is he lying now. Doesn’t matter, he is a liar and deserves no credence now.

  44. If I had a kid who was attending MIT and was or did take a class from this liar, I would demand my money back. It is amazing that communists hid out in academia like this liar. They should string this guy up, draw and quarter him and hang him over a toxic waste dump. It just goes to show that no matter how smart you are, you can still be an evil, disgusting liar.

  45. ” Through a political compromise, it was decided that states should play a critical role in running these health insurance exchanges.”

    “Compromise” is b.s. He tells you what is going on himself: Obama thought he could bludgeon states into complying by getting voters to complain bitterly that they aren’t getting the same federal handouts that other states are getting. But it backfired because numerous states said “f.u.” to the president and his health plan, not just because they didn’t like to be pushed around this way, but because it’s actually a bad deal. And now that his political calculation backfired, he is trying to turn around and force the handouts down people’s throats anyway.

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