November 17, 2014

But, Mr. Gruber, most Americans were not fooled about Obamacare

By But, Mr. Gruber, most Americans were not fooled about Obamacare

Professor Jonathan Gruber’s been getting a lot of bad press lately for his repeated acknowledgments that advocates of Obamacare lied to the American people in order to get the bill passed. These are being treated as “smoking gun” statements, or as “confessions,” which seems odd to me, at least, because I thought it was pretty well known how much of Obamacare is a fabrication.

But laying that aside, it’s worth emphasizing that these lies of which Prof. Gruber was so proud did not work. For instance, Prof. Gruber’s statement that “lack of transparency…was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass” because of “the stupidity of the American voter” ignores the fact that the American voter wasn’t fooled by the lies and obfuscation. Most Americans have never favored Obamacare, from day one. They voted for the presidential candidate who opposed the Individual Mandate, and when they had the opportunity, chose a Republican to replace Ted Kennedy in the Senate in hopes of stopping the bill from becoming law. Only parliamentary trickery, in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, managed to get the bill enacted. And ever since, the majority of Americans have not only never supported the law, but they’ve grown more opposed to it over time. Maybe that’s why the Democratic Party has been “hollowed out” lately.

Meanwhile, litigation continues over a variety of other problems with the law.

First, there’s the fact that, assuming the Individual Mandate is only a “tax”—despite the Administration’s repeated claims that it isn’t—it’s still unconstitutional because it didn’t originate in the House of Representatives. Indeed, it couldn’t have originated there, because the House—the most democratic branch—wouldn’t have endorsed it.

Then there’s the lawsuit over the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the unelected, unaccountable agency charged with setting Medicare reimbursement rates, which acts without any control by Congress, the President, or the courts—what George Will recently called “maybe the most anti-constitutional measure ever enacted.” The reason for these undemocratic measures is, again, because Americans don’t support Obamacare.

And most recently, there are the President’s many unilateral exemptions, waivers, exceptions and changes to the law—postponing enforcement, rewriting the requirements, and generally making it up as we go along. This lawlessness is the target of a new lawsuit filed by the state of West Virginia. We filed this brief in the case Friday, listing the dozens of provisions of the President’s signature legislative achievement that he has now chosen not to enforce—refusing to comply with his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” And the reason he’s taken those steps? Again, because Obamacare is so unpopular.

Prof. Gruber and other policy wonks may think the American people are fools, who must be deceived and manipulated into doing what’s best for themselves. And since I’m one of those fools, I suppose I cannot judge. But if their efforts to deceive Americans were meant to generate support for Obamacare, it seems those efforts were wasted.

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