Ok, I know we said that our next post would be about how states and Congress might react if the Supreme Court does decide to kill Obamacare subsidies in 34 states. However, since the Internet has apparently decided that the most important thing in healthcare this past week was a year-old video clip of an MIT professor talking to a roomful of other health economists (aka “Grubergate”), we figured we’d take a look at that first.
For those who don’t know, Jonathan Gruber was an architect of the Massachusetts health reform effort (aka “Romneycare”), which served as the model for Obamacare, and an adviser on Obamacare itself. At the University of Pennsylvania’s Annual Health Economics Conference last year, Gruber said this:
This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. So it’s written to do that.
In terms of risk-rated subsidies, in a law that said health people are gonna pay in — if it made explicit that healthy people are gonna pay in, sick people get money, it would not have passed. Okay — just like the … people — transperen— lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get anything to pass.
It sounds an awful lot like he’s saying that the Obama administration secretly snuck some provisions into the bill that, if the American public knew about them, Obamacare never would have passed.
But if we’ve learned anything from the resignation of Shirley Sherrod and James O’Keefe’s takedown of ACORN it’s that if a conservative website has a video clip of an Obama supporter saying something that seems outrageous, chances are it was taken out of context. So we went back and watched the full video of Gruber’s remarks, and, sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. [click to continue reading…]