by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
Another video has surfaced featuring smug, elitist Obamacare architect Jonathan “What, Another Speak-o?” Gruber boasting about Americans being “too stupid” to realize they were being deliberately misled over the Affordable Care Act.
Earlier this week, Americans learned from a University of Pennsylvania video that Gruber had trumpeted his and other ACA advocates’ use of subterfuge to take advantage of “the stupidity of the American voter” to get the bill passed:
This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… 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… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.
Gruber has tried to suggest his comments were off the cuff, but the new video makes a mockery of that attempt:
Referring to the so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-end health plans, [Gruber] said: “They proposed it and that passed, because the American people are too stupid to understand the difference.”
Gruber specifically was referring to the way the “Cadillac tax” was designed — he touted their plan to, instead of taxing policy holders, tax the insurance companies that offered them. He suggested that taxing individuals would have been politically unpalatable, but taxing the companies worked because Americans didn’t understand the difference.
There is more to these revelations than schadenfreude. Along with Gruber’s other videotaped admissions, they put the lie to the government’s case in King v. Burwell, now before the Supreme Court. As Reason explains:
This validates much of what critics have said about the health care law, and the tactics used to pass it, for years.
For one thing, it is an explicit admission that the law was designed in such a way to avoid a CBO score that would have tanked the bill. Basically, the Democrats who wrote the bill knowingly gamed the CBO process.
It’s also an admission that the law’s authors understood that one of the effects of the bill would be to make healthy people pay for the sick, but declined to say this for fear that it would kill the bill’s chances. In other words, the law’s supporters believed the public would not like some of the bill’s consequences, and knowingly attempted to hide those consequences from the public.
Most importantly, however, it is an admission that Gruber thinks it’s acceptable to deceive people if he believes that’s the only way to achieve his policy preference. That’s not exactly surprising, given that he failed to disclose payments from the administration to consult on Obamacare even while providing the media with supposedly independent assessments of the law.
No doubt Gruber will try to downplay his “American people are too stupid to understand” comments again, but that fails on two counts. One, because he habitually calls Americans stupid, and two, he thought that Americans were so stupid that they needed a comic book to understand Obamacare.
If Gruber is a superhero, then too bad for him he never realized his Kryptonite is a camera.