Jonathan Gruber

Jonathan Gruber Embraced Misleading the Public About Obamacare Even While It Was Still Being Debated

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MIT

In the week since video surfaced of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber saying that "lack of transparency" and "the stupidity of the American voter" were critical to passing the health law, two more videos of Gruber making statements with similar themes or tones have received attention.

Both clips reveal a gleefully dismissive attitude toward public concerns about the law, and offer a telling reminder of the attitude that played a crucial role in shaping and selling the law to the public. 

In the first video, recorded in March of 2010, just a few days before the law would pass the House, Gruber argues that the public does not really care about the uninsured. What it cares about is cost control. Therefore, he says, the law had to be sold on the basis of its cost control.

Yet as Gruber admits in the video, the bill was not primarily focused on cost control—the bill "is 90% health insurance coverage and 10% about cost control." Indeed, the problem with cost control, he says, is that "we don't know how" to do it.

The primary quote. Via CNN:

"Barack Obama's not a stupid man, okay?" Gruber said in his remarks at the College of the Holy Cross on March 11, 2010. "He knew when he was running for president that quite frankly the American public doesn't actually care that much about the uninsured….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. How it's going to lower the cost of health care, that's all they talk about. Why? Because that's what people want to hear about because a majority of American care about health care costs."

Elsewhere in the same speech, Gruber says:

"The only way we're going to stop our country from being a latter day Roman Empire and falling under its own weight is getting control of the growth rate of health care costs. The problem is we don't know how."

Remember, this is what Gruber was saying as the law was still being debated. It didn't pass in the House, the critical step before hitting President Obama's desk, until more than a week later. And what Gruber was saying, even before the bill was law, was that supporters had intentionally emphasized parts of the bill that were relatively minor, and that were not certain to even produce their intended effects.

This is not lying, exactly; the bill did in fact include some attempts at cost control, although as Gruber said, it was unclear at the time if or how well they would work. And Gruber may well have been right that the public was more concerned with cost control than expanding coverage. But, especially in combination with the other video released this week, it indicates that Gruber believed that the law's advocates were not being completely straight with the public, that supporters of Obamacare were telling the public what they believed the public wanted to hear instead of giving them the full story, and that they were doing so on the understanding that telling the full story would make the bill impossible to pass.

What it shows, in other words, is Gruber openly embracing a strategy of messaging manipulation and misleading emphasis even while the bill was still being debated. If the public understood the bill clearly, he believed, they would reject it. It was more important to pass the bill. 

Another video, posted today by The Daily Signal, shows Gruber taking a similarly dismissive attitude toward public concerns about the bill.  At a meeting with the Vermont House Health Care Committee, Gruber is presented with a question about whether systems like those described in a report by Gruber and Harvard health economist William Hsiao, might result in "ballooning costs, increased taxes and bureaucratic outrages" as well "shabby facilities, disgruntled providers" and destructive price controls.

Gruber's response begin with: "Was this written by my adolescent children by any chance?" The Signal quotes two-term Vermont state senator and Reagan-adviser John McClaughry as saying that the question had been submitted "by a former senior policy adviser in the White House who knew something about health care systems."

Gruber's response is intended as a joke, and it reveals little about the health care law (the reforms in question are specific to Vermont). But it says plenty about Gruber, and the flippant, arrogant way he treats concerns and criticism. 

This is the person whom the White House relied on to help craft the bill; he was paid handsomely to model its effects (a fact he did not disclose, even when asked), and he was in the room when important decisions were made about how it would work. He claims to have helped write specific portions of the law himself. Gruber was not the sole architect of the law, but he was one of its biggest single influences on both its design and on how the media, which quoted him repeatedly, reported and understood the law. 

The White House and its allies are desperately trying to distance themselves from Gruber right now by downplaying his role in the law's creation. But the record of his involvement is clear enough: At The Washington Post, Ezra Klein has variously described Gruber as "one of the key architects behind the structure of the Affordable Care Act" and "the most aggressive academic economist supporting the reform effort." The New York Times in 2012 described his role as helping to design the overall structure as well as being "dispatched" by the White House to Congress to write the legislative text. Gruber's work was cited repeatedly by the White House, Democratic leadership, and the media.

So when he describes the thinking about how the law was crafted and sold to the public, it's worth taking note. This is the posture of one of the law's authors and chief backers. It's part of the spirit in which the law was created and passed. Gruber's ideas were embedded in the law's structure and language, and so was his attitude. 

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  1. PELOSI: “Gruber, Gruber…no, the name doesn’t ring a bell. Perhaps he was one of the waiters at the Jefferson/Jackson dinner?”

    OBAMA: “I do not know the man!”

    1. BILL CLINTON: “I did not have sexual relations with that man!”

      1. “I mean, I know him, but I didn’t know him, if you catch my drift.”

        1. …just some guy who lives in my neighborhood.

    2. OBAMA: “I do not know the man!”

      “FL: So were you ever in a room with Obama?
      JG: So the first time was in, I don’t know exactly. You know, if I knew at the time how important it would be, I would have written down the date. It is like late 2006 maybe. It was right before he announced he was running. So maybe it was earlier than that, maybe spring 2006, right before he — when people sort of knew he was thinking about it but he hadn’t announced yet. I went down, basically did a tutorial for him on what we had done in Massachusetts and how it would work and basically thinking about expanding it to the national stage.
      FL: Where were you? Where was it?
      JG: This was in his Senate offices.
      Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com…..z3J4brjpmM

    3. My roomate’s aunt makes $71 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her income was $12021 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
      You can try this out. ????? http://www.paflame.com

    4. My roomate’s aunt makes $71 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her income was $12021 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
      You can try this out. ????? http://www.payflame.com

    5. My roomate’s aunt makes $71 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her income was $12021 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
      You can try this out. ????? http://www.payflame.com

  2. What, you mean the progs have nothing but contempt for the “little people” that claim to be standing up for? What a shock!

    1. To be fair, I am friends with many conservative politicians (at my State level) and they are equally dismissive of the “people”. As I have examined the thing, is most politicians – that are not complete sociopaths – have a duality when it comes to the people – they have an idealized, theoretical “the people” to weave their ideations around, but in practicality see the flesh and blood people as cattle. Out of this duality, fairly rough “us and them’s” are forged, but in the end, they find actual people disgusting and and a nuisance. And by all means, unappreciative.

      1. Well, I suppose I could see how it might be difficult to treat some people that you’ve never met, and never will meet or try and get the trade or business deal done with, as ‘tax subjects’, and not much else. After all I keep hearing that, “Stuff has to be paid for! And We don’t pay enough in taxes!”

        But I do not understand unppreciative. They get paid big bucks. That is their thanks. They get paid, and they get to be in a position of power, and they want us to throw rose petals at their feet everywhere they go? Well, I shouldn’t put words into other peoples mouths, but I hope you get the point.

        There was a movie that I head part of in passing. I heard, “Well you didn’t say thank you.” Reply, “Well I paid you so that I didn’t have to say thank you! That was your thanks.” I could tell by the tone of the paying persons voice that it should have been obvious at the time of the deal that the compensation was going to be money, and was not about a nicey nice thank you for this particular job.

        1. When I say I am acting in the name of “the people”, it is, in the name of all of those who see (and bow down to)My Wisdom.
          When I run into so-called “people” who disagree with me? Well, DUH! Obliviously, they are TERRORISTS! Terrorists who must be obliviousated right away! Because of all the GOOD that I am doing with mah POWUH, all that I do is justified!

  3. “The only way we’re going to stop our country from being a latter day Roman Empire and falling under its own weight is getting control of the growth rate of health care costs. The problem is we don’t know how.”

    It’s incredible that the “architect of Obamacare” said this. Is he trying to make the country fall under its own weight? Who worries about a country falling under its own weight and then designs a gigantic, complex, expensive bureaucracy to stop it? As Orwell said, some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals will believe them.

    1. Who worries about a country falling under its own weight and then designs a gigantic, complex, expensive bureaucracy to stop it?

      The problems created by centralized bureaucracy can only be solved with a broader, more expensive centralized bureaucracy.

      1. It’s the Ponzi Predicament. You can’t continue the ponzi unless you get more people in on it.

    2. The liberal argument is that universal healthcare systems in countries like Germany, Japan, Australia, France, etc. do a better job at controlling the growth rate of health care costs. As such, moving to a similar system (single-payer and/or all-payer rate setting) would help us get our debt under control since rising health care costs push up Medicare spending.

      1. The argument I’ve heard more often is that “access” to healthcare is a right and cost is irrelevant. They try to make a moral argument for enslaving one portion of the population to another portion.

        1. They make both arguments.

        2. The “access” argument needs to die a painful, cinematic death. It’s literally meaningless and the administrators of the MassCare law admitted as much.

        3. Isn’t it odd how such an argument claims that all have a right to healthcare no matter what, but that no one has a right to keep the fruits of his own life and labor? The right to healthcare is unconditional but not the right to one’s own life?

      2. It’s too bad that their argument isn’t shaped by the fact that there are multiple factors determining how much health care costs.

      3. Germany does not have “universal healthcare”, nor does it have “single-payer” or “all-payer rate setting”. Germany has a complex system of public regulation and private insurers. There are aspects of the German system that are worth looking at, but it is facing numerous serious problems of its own. I’m less familiar with some of the other systems, but I suspect it’s a case of “the grass is greener”.

      4. Here is my counter-argument.

        We have public schooling like Europe has. We spend more per pupil but get worse results.

        Why would you then assume that if we copied single payer that we would also achieve lower costs and “better results?”

        There is also the issue of innovation. Without a market economy would that still occur?

        1. Most of Europe doesn’t have single payer.

          In addition, it is easy to get lower cost: you deny services and fix prices. The first makes everybody poorer. The second leads to scarcity. For example there is a big shortage of doctors in Germany because few people want to do it for that kind of pay.

          1. most of europe isn’t black either – so therefore socialist systems work better without half of the society gaming the system for all its worth.

    3. Perception is reality, my friend.

      Guys like Gruber believe that bureaucracies prevent waste and the profligacy of anarchy just as firmly as I and many other regular commenters believe that freedom encourages self-control and responsibility.

      There is little doubt in my mind that he believes that the opponents of the law were delusional and that deceit as to the provisions of the law was just as morally permisible as lying to a guy having a psychotic break in order to get the guy to drop a gun he is brandishing.

      1. Perception is not reality.

        1. I think he forgot the /s. I’m thinking what he really means is…

          To a bureauracrat, perception is reality. To people like Gruber, perception is reality as long as the perception can be maintained in his own mind. Gruber could give a crap about reality in his bureauracratic world. Perceptions are what matter.

          Posted by Anonymous Coward:
          The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies ? all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.

  4. “The only way we’re going to stop our country from being a latter day Roman Empire and falling under its own weight is getting control of the growth rate of health care costs. The problem is we don’t know how.”

    Hay, here’s an idea. Why don’t we let thousands of clever, creative people develop what they think are the best solutions. Then, people can choose from among them based on which solution they think is best for them. After a few short years, the better, most popular solutions will rise to the top. Also, when circumstances change, i.e. new technology or health concerns, the industry is able to adapt faster because it isn’t burdened by excessive red tape.

    Or, I guess you could just form a committee that admittedly doesn’t know how to solve the problem so they can pass some legislation just to say they’ve done something.

    1. The progressives need to realize that every instinct they have is wrong and start doing the opposite.

      They clearly know how to increase the cost of healthcare.

      1. It worked for George Costanza that one time.

        1. But what if Obama is Even Steven?

    2. Hay, here’s an idea….

      But then a few lazy or unfortunate people might slip through the cracks! It’s better to build an entire system of cracks through which everyone is guaranteed to slip.

  5. This aspect of it isn’t much of a scandal. I suppose it is if you expect politicians to be completely honest when selling their bills, but this often is not the case and it has been this way for quite some time (unfortunately). I distinctly remember other liberal economists talking about how this bill wouldn’t do much to contain costs and was more about expanding coverage.

    1. Whether or not you call it a “scandal”, this story is important. A decent majority of the country hated this law from the start and did everything they could to stop it. They just couldn’t stop it because the Democrats were already elected and passed it before the next election could throw them out.

      There are however a lot of people in the minority who supported this law who are not brain dead idiots like Tony. They are middle and upper middle class center left and centrist voters who trusted the Democrats and their toadies in the media and really thought this bill was the right thing to do.

      It is these voters that Gruber and his ilk lied to and think are stupid. And these voters who are now seeing their health care plans canceled and replaced by mores expensive worse ones as a result of this bill.

      Yes, politicians lie and every bill is oversold by its proponents. But never have we had a bill this big and this bad so blatantly built on lies that its authors freely admit they told. The people who got fooled by this are the difference between the Democratic party being a national major party and being an irrelevant regional minority party of the size and influence of the Republican Party in the 1930s. Those people need to be told over and over again what stupid chumps the Democrats think they are.

      1. I agree that some of what Gruber said definitely could be considered scandalous, but I just didn’t think this particular aspect is quite as surprising or revealing.

        Yes, many of them are like used car salesmen and should be exposed.

        1. It isn’t surprising that it happens, it’s politics. When the lies are about a bridge to nowhere or high speed rail, it’s just not worth most people’s time to get worked up about it.

          However, the scale and damage from ACA far exceeds even Iraq and TARP. People speak up this time not because they are surprised but because of the magnitude of it.

      2. My son is learning about the debate between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists in his history class right now.

        Last night we were discussing his homework about the system of checks and balances, and I found myself using the history of the Obamacare bill to illustrate all the checks to put in to hinder unpopular or tyrannical policies, from the skulduggery to get around the requirement that taxes originate in the house to the Obama’s unlawful implementation of the law, to the Roberts flip-flop to the most recent election rout.

        Given that the law is both tyrannical *and* unpopular, it makes for a great teaching tool.

        1. It does. And it is not just tyrannical and unpopular, it directly and negatively affects the lives of a huge number of people. Everyone in America either has seen their health insurance policy canceled as a result of this or personally knows someone who has.

          The Progressives get away with failures usually because the harm from the failure is either in forgone growth, meaning people don’t miss what they never had, or is spread out over the population to such a degree no one notices the harm. Obamacare is neither. It reduces people’s standard of living in noticeable, significant and attributable ways. So it is never going to be like other Progressive policies and escape blame for the harm it is doing.

          1. “Everyone in America either has seen their health insurance policy canceled as a result of this or personally knows someone who has.”

            Amazing – so the fact that less people are uninsured than ever before must be another lie?

      3. Obama only got re-elected because roll out happened in 2013.

        That was on purpose, and therefor deceptive. Everyone knows that now.

    2. “This aspect of it isn’t much of a scandal. I suppose it is if you expect politicians to be completely honest when selling their bills”

      Can I summon you every time I hear someone cry “ILLEGAL WARS” or “BUSH LIED”? Somehow I imagine your argument falling deaf ears.

      1. I don’t think it fell on deaf ears. People punished Republicans for it at the polls, and it has changed the Republican party a bit for the better.

  6. But Gruber is just a random guy according to Tony, and we should discount what he said.

    1. Gruber didn’t build that?

    2. So we can discount most of PPACA? Sounds good. Let’s do it.

  7. I’m astonished that they wouldn’t focus on lowering costs, since more people would buy health insurance if the costs were lower. Lowering costs would also expand coverage.

    1. But the only way to lower costs is to give up control of the market. Surely you can see the dilemma!

      1. If only there were some sort of dynamic, decentralized and multifaceted institution that would simultaneously increase quality while reducing costs to consumers by way of producers competing for voluntary customers. If only… nah fuck it, just pass a law, that’ll do it.

        1. Free Society|11.14.14 @ 5:45PM|#
          “If only there were some sort of dynamic, decentralized and multifaceted institution…”

          I know! I know! Call on me!
          (waving arm frantically!)

    1. Q: How do you know a scandal is fake?

      A: It happens to our Lord and Savior, The Lightbringer.

  8. “The only way we’re going to stop our country from being a latter day Roman Empire and falling under its own weight is getting control of the growth rate of health care costs. The problem is we don’t know how.”

    Sure we do. We have two choices:

    1. Stop subsidizing demand;
    2. Ration care.

    We’ve always known that. We just aren’t willing to do it.

    1. To a progressive those choices are unacceptable. It’s like telling a libertarian that our choice for reducing crime is to stop classifying rape as a crime.

      1. This. Progressives don’t understand the first rule of economics – that resources are scarce. This throws a wrench in almost all of their policies.

        If you want to guarantee access to healthcare for every human being, then by definition, some people are going to be working while receiving nothing in return.

        1. “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

          ? Thomas Sowell

          1. I need to read more Sowell. That’s just brilliant. Most everything I’ve ever come across by him, usually by way of others, is brilliant.

        2. “This. Progressives don’t understand the first rule of economics – that resources are scarce. This throws a wrench in almost all of their policies”

          Let ’em Die and bring on more death panels. I think that’s what you are getting at…

      2. I am pretty sure rationing care is an acceptable option. In fact, it is the option they have been drooling over for about 70 years now. There are fewer Progressive dreams more dear to them than the dream of the government controlling who gets health care and rationing its supply as the progressives see fit.

        Other than controlling the food supply, which they would love to do as well, there is no better way to control society and punish undesirables than controlling access to health care.

        1. I am pretty sure rationing care is an acceptable option. In fact, it is the option they have been drooling over for about 70 years now.

          I don’t think they see it as rationing though. They see it as controlling waste and making everything fair.

          I think that’s why they rejected the charge that they want to ration care so angrily. They see rationing being what you do when everyone is forced to get less of something, while making things more fair means that everyone gets access to care that before only the rich could afford.

          I think they fail to understand that the problems in the U.S. are due to artificially imposed shortages (eg the limited number of new doctors medical schools are allowed to train, CON requirement etc) and the deadweight losses that make production more expensive. Their attempts to subsidize people have made things worse, since the extra money people have to spend on health care essentially shifts the demand curve upward, increasing the market clearing price. With the supply constraints all this means is that people are waiting longer to see a doctor or get a treatment that now costs more.

          Since they misapprehend the degree that supply is constrained, they assume that the demand curve shifting upward means the market clearing price will result in a much higher quantity of medical care being transacted.

          You and I know better and see that rationing is inevitable if they get their way, but they are blind to it.

          1. Rationing is inevitable – because things are scarce. The question is who doing the rationing. The market should decide who receives what services.

            Progressives see this as unfair, and would prefer if the government chose who would receive what services.

            There gripe is that a free market isn’t moral, and they make a logical mistake in assuming that a democratically elected government will be moral.

            People, as individuals, aren’t moral. But if you put them together in a group, give them a fancy name, and a seal, then they become arbiters of justice.

            1. Libertarians and Conservatives want things rationed according to ability to pay. Progressives want things rationed according to politics. It is really that simple.

              1. Libertarians and Conservatives want things rationed according to ability to pay. Progressives want things rationed according to politics. It is really that simple.

                That’s exactly it. The left really likes political rationing because that means that if they kiss the right asses they’re all set, and as a bonus they can screw over their political enemies. Principals again trump principles.

                1. Yes sarcasmic. It is why academics tend to be just leftists. In a capitalistic society, no one gives a shit about academics. In a socialist society, since it is run by politics, “intellectuals” are really important.

                  Look at Gruber. If we had a real free market in health care, no one would give a shit what he thinks. Since we don’t, he gets to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars while he treats the country like lab rats for his ideas.

                  1. In a capitalistic society, no one gives a shit about academics.

                    I don’t know about that. Academics still has value. Just not as much value as when it can be used as an excuse for terrible policy.

                    1. No. I mean “academics” as in intellectuals and professors who work in the academic field. I didn’t mean “academics” as not caring about learning and school.

                      Sorry not to be clear.

                    2. I see what you’re saying, but I still disagree. Capitalists can still profit from academics if their research produces something of value. They won’t be revered for their own sake, but rather based upon results.

                    3. They won’t be revered for their own sake, but rather based upon results.

                      But that’s not credentialism. And the sort of Academics John describes want their credentials to automatically confer power and prestige. In a free market system, the academics will need patrons and are reduced to mere supplicants.

                    4. What Tarran said. He said what I meant in a more clear way.

                    5. Gotcha. So we’re in agreement.

                    6. John Locke was an academic. Academia has a real value, but there is no way to know what that is since academia has become a vassal of the state.

                  2. Make that millions of dollars. And people don’t care what he thinks. What they care about is his financial models. His models are used to score the economic impact of legislation, and he seems his expertise and software in order to beat his own models so that the financial impact from legislation appears as positive as possible.

              2. I would quibble and point out that rationing assumes the goods exist, just a thing waiting to be distributed. The market does not ration goods, it connects producers with consumers.

              3. “Libertarians and Conservatives want things rationed according to ability to pay. Progressives want things rationed according to politics. It is really that simple.”

                So someone born lower middle class and disabled should just wither up and die…..

                And, hospital companies should charge whatever the traffic will bear. Need a kidney? If you can spend a million – yet are 85 years old – you get one before the 15 year old who is middle class, right?

                Gruber was 100% right. Americans are stupid…almost beyond belief.

            2. JEP|11.14.14 @ 1:00PM|#
              “Rationing is inevitable – because things are scarce. The question is who doing the rationing.”

              Exactly.
              You can argue from ‘fairness’ that money should play no part in the rationing.
              You can equally argue from ‘fairness’ that who you know should play no part in the rationing. ‘Fairness’ is a bullshit concept.
              Rationing under market values delivers a value that even low-watt-bulb lefties understand: Progress!
              Under a market regimen, those with money pay highly for new treatments; the demand for those is elastic. Once the treatments are proven to work, they are then (as in all markets) competed in price down to the lowest costs they can be.
              Anyone care to suggest the mechanism where socialist policies deliver the same result?

        2. That kind of control is a mirage in the 21st century, because necessary food and necessary health care already costs next to nothing.

          Costly health care is mostly about giving drugs and treatments to obese people and keeping people alive for a few more weeks at the end of life.

          And if you really need some complex procedure, you can always just fly to some place that will do it for less than you likely pay in annual health “insurance” in the US, whatever it may be.

      3. They are going to ration care. They are just going to hide how they do it and deny that is what they are doing if anyone notices.

    2. 3. Cut red tape and allow competition and innovation to make health care cheaper.

  9. So this guy is an economist. He set out to design a bill that would control the growth rate of health care costs. His solution to this problem, as an economist, was to draft a bill whose primary purpose was to get more people, via insurance policies and government programs, to have other people pay for their health care expenses.

    I will just leave that there for the board to contemplate for a moment.

    1. It’s not surprising. The Left has been doing this in every industry for longer than the Left has been identified as the Left.

      1. Oh, and before shriek shows up to scream Bush!, I’ll add that the Right has also been doing this for longer than the Right has been identified as the Right.

  10. Jonathan Gruber is to Democrats as Ashley Dupr? is to Eliot Spitzer.

    1. At least somebody got something worthwhile out of Dupre.

      1. And she was far cheaper.

    2. The Republicans are saying they are going to have hearings and put Gruber under oath to tell us about how stupid the voters are and how they had to lie to pass the bill.

      The media will scream like stuck pigs. The media spin will be that it is just the Republicans not being able to get over that they lost and move beyond the past. And certainly that will be the talking points we get from the various Prog trolls on here.

      That won’t help the Democrats and the supporters of this bill. Gruber is devastating to them because he discredits the entire bill and everyone who supported it. Gruber is saying that everyone who supported this bill is either a liar or one of the stupid people the lie was designed to fool. It makes anyone who supports this bill a self admitted fool or liar. And no one wants to be seen as either. Sure, the real idiots will rationalize to themselves how this is just a Republican lie and the bill is still great. But the rest of low information, try to be a bipartisan get things done centrist reasonable America? No a chance. This thing is going to make supporting this bill toxic.

      1. Sure, the real idiots will rationalize to themselves how this is just a Republican lie and the bill is still great.

        Except no one thinks this bill is great. All of the people who still support this bill out of Team loyalty actually hate the bill. They would much rather have Universal Healthcare. They only “love” the bill because it represents a victory for their Team. Now that it is becoming a liability they will quick switch over to saying that this isn’t the bill they wanted and that this bill needs to be fixed by moving to single-payer.

        1. Yes. But you have to understand that there is only about 30% of the country who are real “team loyalty” types. The other 20 or 25 percent of support that the major parties get when they are winning are not like that. They are softer supporters and support the major party as a way of social signaling. If you want to signal that you are patriotic and don’t like the east coast elite, you support team Red. If you want to signal that you are smart and tolerant and care about the less fortunate, you support Team Blue.

          What Gruber is doing here is taking the Democratic Brand and making it a signal that you are a liar or a fool. That is devastating. The Team Blue brand is forever connected to Obamacare. They can’t walk away from it. If supporting Obamacare comes to mean you were a liar or a dupe, the Team Blue brand comes to mean the same thing. And that is very bad for Team Blue.

          1. I agree fully that everyone, everywhere is going to end up running away from this bill, just for different reasons (and it will be bad for the Dems). My point was that there is no significant group of people that will continue to support the bill because they think the bill is great.

            The big question is how badly will the GOP screw up over the next 2-4 years. Will they be able to save the Dems from themselves?

            1. The big question is how badly will the GOP screw up over the next 2-4 years. Will they be able to save the Dems from themselves?

              Doubtful they will. The problem is that the harm this bill and the other things Obama has done will just keep on giving. The last time the Republicans got the public to turn against them, it was in the aftermath of a reasonably successful Democratic President. People may not have liked the way Clinton behaved but he otherwise was considered to be a decent President. So in 2008, no one was going “Jesus Christ not that again” at the thought of a Democratic President. The thought of putting a Democrat back in office wasn’t a big deal to most of the country because they were only 8 years removed from Clinton.

              Obama’s legacy is going to be much different. And the country is going to be much more hesitant to elect a Democrat for a while. So if the Republicans are going to screw up and let the Dems back off the mat in four or five years, they will have to screw up even more than they did under Bush. Certainly not an impossibility but something that will definitely take more than the usual incompetence and stupidity.

              The bottom line is that the Democrats have spent decades building their party as a social signal for people to show they were smart. Now this idiot has come along and may damage that perception beyond repair.

              1. The bottom line is that the Democrats have spent decades building their party as a social signal for people to show they were smart. Now this idiot has come along and may damage that perception beyond repair.

                I don’t know about the “beyond repair” part, but overall that’s a very good insight.

                1. This is a very deep insight. I listened to a few comedy podcasts in 2007-2008 where one of the comedians who probably had a high school education said about the 2008 election “Could we elect the smart people this time. Just once?”

                  Right there I knew something: this guy thought Obama and the Democrats were smarter…and he thought by saying this he was smart, too.

                  He was funny. But he was not smart.

              2. So in 2008, no one was going “Jesus Christ not that again” at the thought of a Democratic President. The thought of putting a Democrat back in office wasn’t a big deal to most of the country because they were only 8 years removed from Clinton.

                This is exactly right.

                In 1988 Poppa Bush got elected because Dukakis fit the profile of the soft on crime wimpy democrat and the country said no fucking way. Clinton got elected exactly because he was a different kind of democrat and even so when the dems in Congress started acting crazy about gun control and socialized medicine they were swept out for the first time in 40 years in 94.

        2. To make it clear there is about 30% of the country who are real Team Blue types you describe and an equal or slightly great number of Team Red types.

          1. Everyone love their NFL team, but if their NFL team suddenly made them pay 30% more in premiums per month…well…

      2. The Dem talking point will be “What difference does it make? Let’s fix the problems with the ACA, not talk about who said what to whom!” And it will become the MSM narrative as well, with those angry, white, old Republicans pissing on the country’s parade.

        Not that they won’t be pissing on the country’s parade; but this will not be the actual reason.

    3. “Jonathan Gruber is to Democrats as Ashley Dupr? is to Eliot Spitzer.”

      Which is why he gained fame as the consultant to Mitt Romney, the GOP Prez Candidate, and why Mitt proudly signed and pushed his work….forward.

  11. “He knew when he was running for president that quite frankly the American public doesn’t actually care that much about the uninsured….What the American public cares about is costs

    Which is fucking stupid because caring about costs IS caring about the uninsured you stupid fucks.

    1. You really think it’s better to make it so poor people can afford to buy their own insurance than it is give them insurance so that they owe the political class? These people aren’t stupid. They’re just mendacious finks.

      1. Yes. The entire idea was to build new bases of Democratic support by getting people to be dependent on subsidies to buy insurance.

        The problem for them is that they are morons. They actually thought everyone who didn’t have insurance didn’t have it because they couldn’t afford it not because they saw it as a bad deal. So they figured once they started handing out subsidies and all of these people got insurance, they would be loved.

        In reality, those people didn’t want insurance and giving them a subsidy to buy overpriced insurance they didn’t want in the first place doesn’t make them love the program. Meanwhile, the cost of giving this group a gift it didn’t want was totally fucking up the insurance of millions of people who had insurance and were happy with it. They didn’t see that as a problem, because being morons, they actually believed their own bullshit that most people were unhappy with their healthcare. And of course most people were very happy with their health care and their insurance and are not happy to see these geniuses fuck it up.

        1. Another mendacious aspect involves deductibles. If you recall, one of the reasons to outlaw “junk policies” was that their deductibles were too high. Now, millions of people are finding out that their Obamacare-compliant policies have extremely high deductibles (e.g. $7,000), in addition to high premiums. Heck, if you are paying $6,000/year for insurance with a $7,000 deductible, you’d probably be better off putting $13,000/year in a health savings account.

          1. For the entire year of 2013, companies could use a website set up by the Feds to see if their insurance complied or not.

            Some smart people figured out that if you paid 100% for some things, you could then pay 0% for hospital stays.

            So for a year, some people had ACA-compliant coverage that paid zero for hospital stays.

            Yeah, total junk insurance.

      2. This is why the website had to have the subsidies in the prices.

        So, idiots could say “its so affordable!”

        Instead of saying…dayum, that’s expensive.

  12. “But the record of his involvement is clear enough: At The Washington Post, Ezra Klein has variously described Gruber as “one of the key architects behind the structure of the Affordable Care Act” and “the most aggressive academic economist supporting the reform effort.””

    Oh, someone should tell the fine reporters over at Vox that. They are reporting Gruber’s involvement as “Gruber was not officially advising the administration on which policy was best.” and under the question “What role did he play in developing the Affordable Care Act?” the answer is “Mostly number-crunching. In 2009 Health and Human Services awarded Gruber a $297,000 contract to consult on “options for national health reform.” ”

    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/13/…..ontroversy

    1. I wouldn’t call the people who write for Vox “reporters”.

      1. How about “Democratic operatives with bylines”?

        1. Naah.
          Lefty hacks with access to the web.

    2. Number crunching = gaming the CBO scoring.

  13. Well, at least we have Grubergate* to warm and comfort us during the cold days of winter. This is the gift that will keep on giving.

    * Yes, I went there. As bad and inaccurate a formation as it is, we’re stuck with -gate as the suffix of scandal because everyone understands it.

    1. That’s exactly what Rachel Maddow said. that Grubergate would warm the teabaggers and Fox News acolytes through the thanksgiving holiday.

      1. I had no idea. Now I feel dirty. The type of dirty you can’t wash off.

  14. Quote from Politico piece noting his failure to disclose his work with the Admistration =

    “Gruber told me in an interview this afternoon that he hadn’t given the matter of disclosure much thought but had disclosed whenever asked.

    “I’m an ivory tower guy at heart and do my thing and figure I’m an honest guy and people will trust it,” he said.”

    Gruber, when asked whether he “received any funding, for research or otherwise, from organizations or persons identified in the column,” answered “no.”

    1. Yes, he’s a known liar from long ago.

  15. So when the Republicans whittle Obamacare into some nationalized form of Romneycare will Gruber then be less toxic?

    1. It is pretty hard to imagine that happening. Romneycare was drafted and passed by a Democratically controlled legislature in Massachusetts. Romney signed it and put his name on it as the best thing he was going to get. If he had vetoed it, they would have overridden it.

      Maybe the Republicans from places like Texas and Georgia and Wyoming have similar preferences in health policy that the state Democrats in Massachusetts do. Time will tell, but I doubt it.

  16. Alt text: “I like them French fried potaters.”

    1. That’s funny.

      Not funny queer like but funny HaHa like.

  17. It’s part of the spirit in which the law was created and passed. Gruber’s ideas were embedded in the law’s structure and language, and so was his attitude.

    This. The “debate” and “passage” was truly a nauseating spectacle.

    1. It really was. It was just unbelievable. There was Brown winning in Massachusetts because even the Massholes couldn’t stomach this thing and tried to take a bullet for the country to stop it.

      Then you had Stupak and his band of useful idiots trying to claim that Obama promised them it wouldn’t pay for abortions so it was okay. Then you had the lying to and arm twisting of the CBO. The CBO thing is one of the least talked about and really damaging things of the entire spectacle. The CBO had always been reliable and non partisan and trustworthy. Pelosi and read took a giant shit on it and turned into just another arm of the Democratic Party. Will anyone ever trust a CBO estimate on a big bill again?

      Then of course there was the reconciliation bullshit where Pelosi and Reid shit all over the rules of the Congress and the Constitutional requirement that revenue bills originate in the House. Nauseating is too kind of a work.

      1. The CBO had always been reliable and non partisan and trustworthy. Pelosi and read took a giant shit on it and turned into just another arm of the Democratic Party.

        The CBO was played and the director admitted as much on several occasions at the time. The appendix of their analysis basically says, “we don’t much believe what the body says, but we scored it the way we were told to score it. This is actually quite the money loser beyond the 10-year term.”

      2. Its so bad, that even if you in general could accept portions of the law, you should oppose it now to make sure those means can’t be used again.

      3. “It really was. It was just unbelievable. There was Brown winning in Massachusetts because even the Massholes couldn’t stomach this thing and tried to take a bullet for the country to stop it.”

        Again, you give voters – even in MA – too much credit!

        Martha C, who just lost again, is perhaps the worst candidate known to man. That special election brought in vast amounts of money and angry activists from out of state.

        Brown won because he posed naked and has a hot wife. Martha lost because she didn’t know the name of a Red Sox player.

        If MA voters were so upset with the ACA….why did they elect Warren over Brown?

        Hint – MA. has RomneyCare so we could give a dang about the ACA in general. We are almost fully insured and have some of the best healthcare and results in the USA….

        Try another tack, As Gruber says, people are stupid. Maybe you can fool them in another way.

  18. As an aside….

    … there are actually some similarities between Gruber(and-Gamer)Gate

    One – is the (long suspected & assumed) exposure that people in positions of authority have been lying and colluding behind the scenes, treating their ‘consumers’ as so many helpless rubes unworthy of respect or concern

    Two – the attempt to portray the controversial figure as ‘inconsequential’ and irrelevant to the bigger picture; which (even were that true) evades the actual point: which is that it is now obvious that key assertions being made by the administration (*King v Burwell) are clearly lies, and that the entire process of design and marketing of the ACA was riddled with conscious duplicity

    (*i.e. the sneering about ‘who cares about ‘ethics in Gaming Journalism’? belies the larger point about how political groups are attempting to dictate the content of media over the objections of the actual consumers)

    Third – while its nascent, and just ‘internet echoes’ so far, it genuinely does seem to be turning young people away from democrats across the board. While scumbags like Tony or PB might be perfectly ok with Amoral-Partisanship-Uber-Alles, most people find it distasteful, and don’t like being associated with *liars*

    *note – turning away from Dems does not a libertarian moment make. It just means they may be more likely to stay home in 2016

    1. That is a very good point. Both stories strike at the heart of the essential assumption of Progressivism; that government and the intellectual class are the only honest and well meaning forces in society. Gamergate and this are worse than the normal Prog failures because they don’t just make government look dishonest and not a force for good. Progressives can always get around government failures with the old “we just didn’t try hard enough” dodge.

      Gruber and Gamergate are different and much worse because they make the intellectual class look dishonest and self serving. If people lose faith in the intellectual classes, Progressivism has no hope of persuading them to support it.

    2. Fourth – “manifestos” tend to come from the most tedious of people.

    3. Yes, the revolutionary vanguard has stumbled in both areas.

  19. Gruber should be an object lesson to everyone for the climate change debate as well.

    Here we have an “expert” who is absolutely sure some course of action is needed to achieve some “good outcome”.

    Because people are “too stupid” or “too selfish” to go along voluntarily, he feels absolutely entitled to lie about his intentions and actions in order to trick or force those dummies to let him have his way.

    1. I think it’s safe to say that Gruber is not a “Democracy NOW!” type of guy.

      1. That show makes me laugh every time I flip by it on cable. It is a news show run by the most loathsome, authoritarian leftist imaginable. The last thing the woman who does that show wants is any of the proles voting on what is good for them.

        It really should just be called “Newspeak Today”.

        1. I went to high school with Amy Goodman’s daughter. Tuition was 25K a year, IIRC.

          1. There is nothing wrong with having money as long as you are the right sort of person. Don’t you know that?

            1. Why do you have to make everything about Elizabeth Warren, John? 😉

    2. Wait til they get to page 1930 and find the article listing which laws Gruber is now exempt from.

    3. It’s the exact opposite situation. Scientists are telling the truth as best they (thus we) know it. That doesn’t necessarily translate to public awareness, and can’t necessarily compete with politics and its willingness to propagandize. But you as someone who claims to be above it all should be able to separate fact from fiction on climate change just as you do on the ACA. So why do you appear unable?

  20. Obamacare is slowly turning into the WMD for the Democrats.

    1. The excuse to bomb the electorate into oblivion?

  21. My classmate’s mother-in-law makes $73 every hour on the computer . She has been without work for five months but last month her check was $14391 just working on the computer for a few hours. why not try this out.
    vi?????????sit hom?????????epage http://www.jobsfish.com

  22. My classmate’s mother-in-law makes $73 every hour on the computer . She has been without work for five months but last month her check was $14391 just working on the computer for a few hours. why not try this out.
    vi?????????sit hom?????????epage ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. At least your numbers are consistent.

    2. Anonybot, “My classmate’s mother-in-law” is such a stretch I think you may have pulled something.

  23. COLOR ME SHOCKED!!!

  24. Not one mention yet on any liberal website.

    1. The SF Chron, paper and e-versions have yet to admit Gruber is a name that needs a mention.
      Not one.
      Now we have Pelosi griping that suggesting she retire is sexist, but Gruber? Who?

      1. CNN’s Tapper is running with this.

        Its out.

      2. “Now we have Pelosi griping that suggesting she retire is sexist”

        No, it is anti-senility, and at this point tending towards senilophobia.

  25. I’m pretty sure the national conversation on this was derailed long before this guy had anything to say. I thought it was obvious that nobody knew what the hell they were talking about when it came to discussing this bill.

  26. John|11.14.14 @ 12:33PM|#
    “So this guy is an economist. He set out to design a bill that would control the growth rate of health care costs.”

    Not according to one reading:
    “The model, the Gruber Microsimulation Model, is the coin of the realm, in large part because it is similar to the model used by the Congressional Budget Office. That means administration policy-makers could predict with reasonable certainty how CBO would score legislation. Given that legislation in Washington often falls or rises depending on the CBO score, that made this model a very powerful tool for administration officials.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..istration/

    I’d say he developed software that helps game the CBO, and it works particularly well with medical care law.

  27. The results of the last two presidential elections would seem to bear out Gruber’s assertion. We have become a society of envious, lazy people who are jealous of anyone who works harder than us and succeeds. The envious and jealous seem to think they are entitled to someone else’s earnings out of “fairness”.

  28. I’m surprised that people are surprised that an academic didn’t let facts get in the way of ideology. After all, he’s the expert, right? We can trust him.

    1. “I’m surprised that people are surprised that an academic didn’t let facts get in the way of ideology. After all, he’s the expert, right? We can trust him.”‘

      That’s for reminding me about experts! I think I’ll take the Makita and do some brain surgery today after I fly a couple Airbus 380’s full of passengers.

  29. Gruber is the gift that keeps on giving. He not only calls all Obama supporters stupid, but they are too stupid to understand how to live their lives which is why the Grubers of the world need to guide them from their stupid land. These tapes are really amazing.

  30. Gruber also admitted in another video that he has no idea what the effect of the health care law was. It’s one gigantic experiment. It’s, as he put it, “the best ‘we’ know how to do; isn’t doing something better than doing nothing”.

    Oh, and he admitted that the only reason Romneycare worked out financially was because Kennedy was a powerful senator who managed to rip the federal government off for $400M (those were pretty much his words). How that is supposed to scale to 50 states and still save money is something only a Ph.D. MIT economist can figure out, not stupid people like the rest of us.

    1. the best ‘we’ know how to do; isn’t doing something better than doing nothing.

      hardly ever. no.

      1. Not unless you have evidence to show it, no.

  31. Indeed, the problem with cost control, he says, is that “we don’t know how” to do it. The reason they don’t “know how to do it” is because they can’t conceive of nor do they believe in freedom. There’s a minimum of about twenty things we need to do to make health care affordable for all:

    1. Eliminated siting requirements and certificates of need for healthcare facilities
    2. End the ban on drug re-importation
    3. Make all drugs over the counter rather than by prescription

    I’m just listing three as examples of where more freedom can lower healthcare costs. We need a healthcare revolution that’s quite the opposite of Obamacare. We could just cut to the chase and sum it all up with a Healthcare Amendment to the Bill of Rights:

    “The Congress and the States shall make no law respecting healthcare, healthcare facilities, healthcare professionals, healthcare devices, or healthcare drugs.”

  32. “The Congress and the States shall make no law respecting healthcare, healthcare facilities, healthcare professionals, healthcare devices, or healthcare drugs.”

    No way the government accepts any more limits to its powers. It really doesn’t accept the ones already in place – it always finds work-arounds.

  33. I am making a good salary from home$5500-$7000/week , whic his amazing, under a year ago I was jobless in a horrible economy. I thank God every day I was blessed with these instructions and now it’s my duty to pay it forward and share it with Everyone,

    Here is I started == . == ?w?w?w.M?o?n?e?y?k?i?n.c?o?m?

  34. My roomate’s aunt makes $71 /hour on the laptop . She has been out of a job for six months but last month her income was $12021 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    You can try this out. ????? http://www.paflame.com

  35. Nothing will come of this. Proof: only FNC is covering it. If it’s as big a deal as we think, MSM would be forced to cover and provide their spin….not happenin. I bet the average American doesn’t even know what this is about. If this did hit the MSM, they’d take the Pelosi stance, say Gruber was marginal…who is he anyway? and that it’s the R’s fault.

    1. Ah, but people are getting hit with their 2015 rates. And the penaltax kicks in next year. And the backend of Healthcare.gov is still not finished. And if Congress has guts, they’ll get Gruber under oath to testify. And the MSN is already starting to pay attention.

      1. “And the MSN is already starting to pay attention.”

        Obo and the dems in general are hoping that NBC, CBS and ABC still hold monopoly power as news sources, as they did when Newton Minnow ruled the airwaves, and when they all three properly nailed Nixon.
        Now they don’t and for reasons that are a mystery to me, they are protecting a slimeball of similar ethics.
        That monopoly is gone. CNN has broken the line, AP has finally put out (a pathetic) feed. Come Sunday, the talk shows are going to have mentions and the broadcast news outlets will have to explain to their audience what’s happening, as they presume that audience hasn’t gotten the news already.
        Want to make yourself irrelevant? Why just look at what the MSM has done here.

    2. “Nothing will come of this. Proof: only FNC is covering it. If it’s as big a deal as we think, ”

      YES, so people at an average age of 65-75 – all of whom received GUBMENT-CARE, are being subjected to 24/7 BS which tells them that they should be against it!

      Amazing.

      Voters are stupid. Very Stupid. The fact that you guys would doubt this boggles the mind. Need I remind you that GW was re-elected AFTER Iraq and Afghanistan wars started? Need I remind you that he was almost elected (appointed) in 2000? Need I remind you that tens of millions of “smart voters” think Sarah Palin is a valid source of intelligent thought?

  36. I started with my online business I earn $58 every 15 minutes. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out.

    ??????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  37. Scienfoology Song? GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

    Government loves me, This I know,
    For the Government tells me so,
    Little ones to GAWD belong,
    We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

    GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
    Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
    Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
    And gives me all that I might need!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

    DEA, CIA, KGB,
    Our protectors, they will be,
    FBI, TSA, and FDA,
    With us, astride us, in every way!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
    My Nannies tell me so!

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