“The American people would never vote for socialism, but under the name of ‘liberalism,’ the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program. One of the traditional methods of IMPOSING statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.”
(Norman Thomas; American Socialist, 1927)
In a video that went viral, last year, one of the principal architects of ObamaCare confessed at an academic conference that the law was drafted in such a manner as to deliberately deceive both the Congressional Budget Office and the American people. MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber tried to walk back his previous (October 2013) remarks in a softball interview with Ronan Farrow on MSNBC, yet, there’s no denying that his embarrassing moment of candor in which he said the bill passed because of a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American voter,” will influence the ongoing debate about the law. But while the mainstream media has spent the years since the misnamed Affordable Care Act passed, mocking its conservative opponents, this ought to be a moment when Americans take stock of the corrosive impact on our democracy, and of the cynicism to which President Obama and his congressional allies sank during the campaign for his signature health-care legislation.
In a sense, Gruber’s statement doesn’t exactly break new ground. After all, if then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could say that ObamaCare had to be passed before its contents could be understood, it’s not much of a revelation if one of its designers fesses up about the deceptions involved in the project and the breathtaking cynicism of its Democratic backers. Like President Obama’s repeated lies about consumers being able to keep their existing health insurance and doctors if they liked them, Gruber’s confession makes it clear that deception was at the heart of the debate on a law that overturned a key sector of the American economy.
For those who somehow did not read or see it, here’s what Jonathan Gruber said at a University of Pennsylvania conference last year:
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure that the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay. So it was written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law that said healthy people are going to pay in — if you made it explicit that healthy people pay in, sick people get money, it would not have passed. Okay. 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 in getting the thing to pass, and, you know, it’s the second best argument. And I wish Mark was right, we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. So there are things I’d wish I could change, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
These remarks should weigh heavily on the consciences of the Obama administration and its allies who rammed it through Congress on a narrow party-line vote without knowing what was in it. Nor should it escape the notice of the Supreme Court as it weighs the arguments in King v. Burwell this session as it struggles with the question of whether the text of the law should be ignored in order to justify the administration’s efforts to roll out the health-care scheme. Liberals argue that the true intentions of the law’s authors should trump the fact that it was drafted so sloppily that it can easily be interpreted in such a way as to render the implementation of the legislation illegal. But since those who did the drafting are now being revealed as having deliberately lied about its contents, it seems quite appropriate that the Court stick to the text and the public arguments made at the time, not the secret agenda behind the law.
But leaving aside the debate about ObamaCare, Gruber’s quote and even his recent mea-culpa in which he says he “spoke inappropriately” indicates that for Obama’s acolytes, winning means never having to say you’re sorry. Since they believed that this massive expansion of federal power, may wind up hurting as many people as it helps, and was the key goal of the Obama administration; like Gruber, its apologists aren’t apologizing for having lied. What they regret is Gruber’s moment of weakness in which he foolishly told the truth about it. Seen in that light, this is not so much about a gaffe as it is about the theory of politics that animates the Obama administration.
“On a separate video in a different speech, Professor Jonathan Gruber explains what Obamacare intended: “If you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.” The legislative idea was to coerce states (force states) into setting up their own exchanges by otherwise denying their citizens subsidies.”
Though he came into office pledging the most ‘transparent administration’ in history, what he has presided over is the one that is the most opaque, both in terms of its attitude toward the press as well as its belief that it can lie to the American people without impunity. Nations often believe that ends justify the means. Indeed, it would be impossible for wars to be fought otherwise. But however questionable such practices may be, it is one thing to rationalize wartime decisions, quite another to turn a blind eye to a philosophy that treats the American people as the enemy to be deceived.
“Worse was the pretense that Obamacare wouldn’t cost anyone anything. On the contrary, it’s a win-win, insisted President Obama, promising that the “typical family” would save $2,500 on premiums every year.” (Charles Krauthammer)
“You can’t subsidize 30 million uninsured without someone paying something. Indeed, Gruber admits, Obamacare was a huge transfer of wealth — which had to be hidden from the American people, because “if you had a law which … made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.” (Jonathan Gruber)
Remember: The whole premise of Obamacare was that it would help the needy, but if you were not in need, if you liked what you had, you would be left alone. (Charles Krauthammer)
They were not the first administration to lie to the American people about a policy question. But in passing ObamaCare, President Obama and his minions reached an all-time low in mendacity in order to get the desired result. Yet while [some] have benefited from ObamaCare, [many] others have not. The administration and its supporters may believe all the lies are justified because of the expansion of health care to some. Yet in the coming year, as the individual mandate is implemented, more people will suffer as the law wreaks havoc on employment and the costs of premiums may skyrocket.
“As NBC News and others reported last year, the administration knew this all along.”… “In fact, Obama knew the falsity of his claim as far back as (at least) February 2010 when, at a meeting with congressional leaders, he agreed that millions would lose their plans.”
But the true legacy of ObamaCare may not just be the mess it has made of the health-care industry or the benefits some may have derived from it. It may instead mark another watershed moment in the history of American politics in which citizens came to understand that those who claim to have their best interests at heart would not scruple about lying to them about their intentions. The ends here not only did not justify the means but they also degraded American democracy in a way that we may never entirely recover from.
[Welcome to the New Year and a new wave of ObamaCare implementations that American citizens and American businesses and the American economy must brace for and try like hell to absorb and overcome. (Gospelbbq)]