On Tuesday this week Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist and ObamaCare architect made infamous by a series of viral videos confirming suspicions of deceptive lawmaking, will appear before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee.
It won’t be a pleasant meeting for Gruber.
Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has titled the hearing, “Examining ObamaCare Transparency Failures.”
The biggest issue will be whether Issa and his fellow Republicans can get Gruber to confirm his previous statement that ObamaCare only grants insurance subsidies to people in states that operate their own health exchange. That’s the central issue in the case going before the Supreme Court next spring, and if the justices accept it, much of ObamaCare could be gutted.
Liberals are already trying to get ahead of any Gruber confessions under oath that could undermine their landmark domestic policy.
In a long-read piece at Politico, a former Democratic staffer tries to minimize the impact of Gruber’s comments by first saying he wasn’t involved in the policymaking process. That’s a fair point.
But then the staffer seems to completely confirm Gruber’s main argument – that the disputed statutory language was deliberately concocted to confuse people who weren’t in on the backroom political calculations.
The Politico reporter sums up the staffer’s argument this way: “The point of having the ‘Balkanized’ approach – state health exchanges plus a federal one for states that didn’t build their own – was to appeal to centrist senators, he said, since most liberal Democrats would have been happy just to have a federal one.”
As the staffer explains it, “No one was willing to fall on their swords to make sure states ran their own exchanges.”
In other words, the text in the law that limits the flow of subsidies to state exchanges is nothing more than an Orwellian wordplay. It doesn’t mean what it says. Rather, it’s designed to give ‘centrist’ senators political cover for voting to do the exact opposite – give subsidies to everyone.
Confused? Gruber isn’t.
This new rationale sounds an awful lot like the “tortured” drafting of ObamaCare that takes advantage of the “stupidity of the American voter” that Gruber’s been saying for years.
Kudos for being honest. Now let’s see if he will remain so under oath.