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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jonathan Gruber's "evolving" position on state healthcare exchanges

Halbig v. Burwell and King v. Burwell produced different decisions over the same issue namely did Congress intentionally write the law as it it intended and now has the devil to pay for it attempt to bully the states into establishing health insurance exchanges or was the law so poorly written as to require a rule from HHS to clarify the meaning. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in King essentially ruled that Congress meant well it but just had a hard time expressing itself and ruled in favor of the Obama administration. In the DC Circuit a 3 judge panel ruled that it could not judge the intent of Congress and a fair reading of the ACA text indicated that subsidies are to be paid only when insurance was issued on a state exchange. The Obama administration will appeal this decision to the full court which has recently been packed by 3 newly Obama appointed judges made possible by Harry Reid's change in the filibuster rule. The pending loss of Halbig makes it less likely the Supreme Court will accept the case on appeal but only 4 justices are required for the Court to accept an appeal and new information-not admissible evidence-but he sort of thing judges are apt to read in the newspaper may prompt the conservative wing of the Court to accept the appeal.
Jonathan Gruber of MIT was the designer of Romneycare. He is reported to have been paid $400,000 by the Obama White House to act as a consultant when Obamacare was being considered and was then loaned to Congress to aid in drafting that God awful mess. Twice Gruber has been caught on camera saying that the text of the law meant exactly what it said. Congress reasoned that the states would cave to the voters' demand that they establish healthcare exchanges and it was the intent of Congress to force the Governors to make that choice. Thanks to some good internet snooping we have Professor Gruber in his own words.

Yes indeed the politics can get ugly and Gruber drives that point home in the next video. The timing of the speech is important. Gruber said this in January 2012. It wasn't until May 2012 that the IRS issued a rule, stating that subsidies would also be available to the states that joined the federal exchange. So at this point Gruber and the Democrats were running around the country confident that they and the Supreme Teleprompter Reader could cajole the states into setting up exchanges. It was only after they failed that HHS offered its interpretation of the law.

As of late Gruber acts as if he has been misquoted or at least misunderstood. It's hard to believe we are seeing the same person in the video below but he is right about the consequences of the Obama administration losing this case.


  1. Shades of Charles Barkley who claims he was misquoted in his autobiography.