tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Thursday, Apr 25, 2019
  • Home

Editorial: Who seems stupid now?

Recent days have been particularly painful for the Affordable Care Act. Republicans swept the mid-term elections based largely on their opposition to President Obama’s signature achievement.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the legality of the federal government providing health-insurance subsidies to citizens in states that do not offer health care exchanges.

The administration this week reduced by 30 percent the expected 2015 enrollment numbers for the health care program. It now anticipates about 9 million signups, well below the 13 million the Congressional Budget Office originally predicted.

But perhaps the most devastating blow to Obamacare came from one of its architects.

A video recorded last year of Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped devise the Affordable Care Act, surfaced that shows him bluntly saying the bill passed due to the “stupidity” of Americans.

Gruber, speaking at the University of Pennsylvania, said, “The bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. ...”

So Gruber essentially concedes the already unpopular law was an act of deception.

He bluntly explains: “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 for the thing to pass.”

The cynical disregard for citizens and the democratic process that was displayed in the development of Obamacare goes a long way toward explaining Americans’ continuing anger over the law. The public is not as dumb as liberal elitists believe.

Gruber, who also helped fashion Mitt Romney’s health care program in Massachusetts, is trying to dance away from his remarks, saying the comments were “off the cuff” and inappropriate.

But this is not the only time Gruber has revealed the sneaky arrogance behind the law.

Fox News played a tape of Gruber discussing the “Cadillac tax” on high-end health plans, which tax the companies providing the plans rather than individuals.

He said: “They proposed it, and that passed because the American people are too stupid to understand the difference.”

Gruber may even bolster Obamacare opponents’ position in the Supreme Court case, as he has said on several occasions it was Congress’ intent to limit the federal subsidies to state-sponsored exchanges, though he now says his comments were a mistake.

Gruber may be arrogant, but he also looks to be honest — at least when speaking off the cuff.

We doubt any Republican has offered more devastating evidence against a law that has failed to provide Americans the promised health care relief while entangling the economy with cumbersome rules and taxes.

Weather Center