Accuracy in Media

In recent days the Obama administration has attempted to separate itself from MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber’s comments regarding the torturous way that Obamacare was written, and the “stupidity of the American voter.” Not to let President Obama’s signature achievement be sullied by potential bad press, President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and others have disavowed their connection to Gruber despite long, consistent government ties to the consultant.

The Daily Caller reports that “All told, Gruber has earned at least $5,893,100 for his work for federal and state governments,” with $4 million coming from the federal government since 2000. If Gruber’s a nobody, he’s a very well paid one. It’s a great example of how incredibly wasteful and careless government can be in respecting the hardworking taxpayer’s dollars.

“The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run,” contended President Obama during a press conference in Australia this past weekend. His administration is running scared about the optics that Gruber’s controversial comments have fostered just as the second enrollment period for the exchanges opens. He began his answer by saying, incredulously, “I just heard about this,” trying to pretend that this wasn’t a big deal among his staffers, though it had been in the news for nearly a week by that time.

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post gave claims that Gruber earned nearly $400,000 from the Obama administration a “Geppetto Checkmark,” a rare certification of accuracy from the fact checker. “In any case, the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 has been lucrative for Gruber and his microsimulation model,” writes Kessler. “All told, he has been hired by at least eight states to provide advice or assist in creating the health-insurance exchanges that are at the heart of the Affordable Care Act: Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.”

His contract with the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was a no-bid contract issued one month after Obama took office. It sure looks like they were ideological soul-mates. In an Obama-Biden campaign ad in 2012, Gruber was shown on camera saying that he helped President Obama develop his national version of that law.

CBS News, after mostly silence on this controversy, has published an article, titled “Why GOP Anger Over Jonathan Gruber’s Obamacare Comments is Justified.” It includes the following sentence: “In a video produced by the [2012] Obama campaign celebrating the anniversary of ‘Romneycare,’ Gruber says, ‘I helped Gov. Romney develop his health care reform, or Romneycare, before going down to Washington to help President Obama develop his national version of that law.’” Smoking gun, anyone?

As I outlined in a recent article on this continuing fiasco, Gruber has consistently peddled misinformation about Obamacare, including the idea that King v. Burwell—which undercuts federal Obamacare subsidies and is scheduled to go before the Supreme Court—is based upon a debate about a “typo.” I argued that it is about a lot more than that: “This is not just about whether this lawsuit ‘guts’ Obamacare, but whether the law will be interpreted based upon its plain language…”

It is also ridiculous for the President to dismiss Gruber as an “adviser who was never on our staff,” a blatant disavowal that ignores how key Democrats during the debate over the bill referred consistently to Gruber’s work as a justification for Obamacare, according to The Washington Free Beacon. And here is a YouTube video of Gruber admitting he was in the room with President Obama when the Cadillac tax was just an idea.

It seems that some in the media aren’t swallowing Obama’s disavowals. “Official logs show he [Gruber] visited the White House about a dozen times between 2009 and this year,” reports Politico. Other reports have that number as 19 or 20. “Despite Obama’s dismissive tone toward Gruber, the President has acknowledged that some of his own statements about the law were ill-advised, in particular his repeated promises that if Americans liked their health care plans they could keep them.” PolitiFact labeled the President’s claim that you could keep your health insurance if you liked it the “Lie of the Year” for 2013.

As for the Cadillac tax, Gruber has said,

“Then our Senator, John Kerry, had a very clever idea. He said, ‘Let’s call it instead a tax on insurance companies and not a tax on insurance plans.’ So we’ll have what we call a Cadillac tax, which is any insurance benefit that costs more than $23,000 a year will have a tax on it. Now, you and I know, economists know, that that will just get passed on in the price of insurance. So, really, what it’ll mean is basically above $23,000 we’re taking away your tax break.”

Gruber’s presentation of Senator Kerry’s “very clever idea” falls in line with his characterization of the stupidity of the American voter—that Americans won’t realize until its too late that the rising cost of insurance will be passed onto them.

But according to some in the media, Gruber was just conveying normal Congressional log-rolling, pulling and hauling, and the American people should not be surprised by it. “Mr. Gruber was exposing something sordid yet completely commonplace about how Congress makes policy of all types: Legislators frequently game policy to fit the sometimes arbitrary conventions by which the Congressional Budget Office evaluates laws and the public debates them,” writes Neil Irwin for The New York Times. “In the case of the Affordable Care Act, that meant structuring the law so that the money Americans must pay the Internal Revenue Service if they fail to obtain health insurance under the law’s mandate is a penalty, not a tax.”

Similarly, Steve Benen writes for MSNBC that “policymakers were constantly trying to accommodate perceptions when drafting the proposal, avoiding even hints of controversy because they were terrified of political blowback. Lawmakers in both parties do this all the time on key issues.” He calls the Gruber story a “shiny object for the political world to stare at for a while.”

Yes, Americans are getting a rare view into the politics of how Washington, D.C. works with Gruber’s insights—but this type of behavior manifested by one’s political leaders should not be a media cause célèbre nor dismissed as business as usual.

Gruber also made false promises. “This bill is largely public financing of private health insurance expansion,” he said in 2010. “Of the 30 million who gain health insurance coverage, about 18 to 20 million gain it through private health insurance coverage and about 10 to 12 million gain it through Medicaid.” In reality, 71% of the first year’s enrollments can be attributed to Obamacare expanding Medicaid to able-bodied working adults, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal. How many more will enroll in Medicaid this year?

Yet Benen questons “…what deception? What exactly did we not know about the law before that we know now?”

The Gruber debacle is not a shiny object to distract the media and public from the successes of Obamacare, as Benen contends. Instead, it exposes the lies that were told about the law in order to sell it to the American people, the character and integrity of Barack Obama and the media that enable him, and the long-term consequences of Obamacare’s implementation.

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  • John Cunningham

    Can anyone imagine, if this all happened under the Clinton watch say, fifteen years a go? The Country would have went nuts. Clinton would most likely been a resident of Leavenworth and the Administration totally investigated. Or worse yet, this was perpetrated during the George W. Administration.

    For some reason I haven’t quite got, Barack Obama is the Liberal coming of Christ. Is it all because he is a black man and the White guilt was so pervasive? Barack Obama has been able to peacefully be elected twice and control America like Hitler and Stalin did without the bloodshed at least, yet.

    All this stuff that Obama has done had to be well thought out before being elected and his crew is culpable. I believe this is a conspiracy to take America down and so far with, the backing of the Media, been done. Why is America not enraged? Io, 15 years a go, they would.

  • Maria-Erlinda Martinez

    Clinton would have gone through completely unscathed; the proof is that he went through an empeachment with flying colors, without being removed from office for perjury in front of a grand jury and for obstruction of justice in front of a judge.

    As for conspiracy, have you ever heard about the hardcore-Left emulsion called Marxism-Leninism? (NOTE: Other than ownership by government of all ways and means of all production and distribution of all goods and services in society, Leninism is but a set of bestial tactics and strategies to seize and retain overall power, dressed up and garnished with Marxist slogans.) Did you ever read Lenin’s “What Is To Be Done?”, and “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”?

    There in is all which you call “a conspiracy”.

    As absolutely every single Marxist-Leninist faction on the planet other than the Russian ones (i.e, Lenin and his Bolsheviks, and their successors until the collapse of the Soviet Union) believes that it exclusively possess the “correct” recipe to install Marxist socialism and then Marxist communism . The Democrats are no exception; they think that they know how to do it, and in the process they are destroying America, for Leninist subscribe to the “catastrophism” that they borrowed from the father of Russian nihilism 19th century hyper-violent Marxist (whom Marx and Engels disavowed for his violent traits) Sergey Nechayev, whereby a nation targeted for absolute takeover must either brought down to its knees via legislation, regulation and reforms, or entirely destroyed “torched-earth” style, to then install Marxist socialism as a steppingstone toward Marx’s “ultimate goal”: Marxist communism.

    The Democrat Party, whose ideological very kernel is Leninist, has targeted America for overall, absolute takeover via legislation, regulation and reforms to install in America Marxist socialism and, if possible, Marxist communism.

  • John Cunningham

    Loved your reply but, Clinton and Hillary both were quite set upon by the Media during his two terms. The Impeachment against him was for lying about a sexual liaison with an Intern.
    Almost any man especially one with so much power would have denied that very embarrassing moment.

    To your point about the Marxist Communists in this Country, as I said in my piece, they were waiting for a Barack Obama. The Democrat Party is out of the closet and the most dangerous weapon America has ever faced. What ever it takes, America must wake up to the danger and rid it from our Country.

  • chris12138

    “The Gruber debacle is not a shiny object to distract the media and public from the successes of Obamacare, as Benen contends. Instead, it exposes the lies that were told about the law in order to sell it to the American people, the character and integrity of Barack Obama and the media that enable him, and the long-term consequences of Obamacare’s implementation.”

    You can say that again!

  • John Cunningham

    Something else that really bothers me. The president is an elected official. He is crowned or installed. When he was asked about knowing Gruber, he should have been called out for lying. Barack Obama is the first president in History that lies in the face of documented reality. Now I ask you, why is that?

  • AndRebecca

    The Democratic Party was only partly out of the closet during the Clinton Admin. In certain parts of the country, they were out, like in the San Francisco Bay area. Willy Brown, San Francisco mayor, was a Socialist and was very active in politics, but got no where until he became a Democrat. Clinton even had a Marxist school program launched in Arkansas during his term as governor. Carter is as leftist as you get. He has renounced the Southern Baptists and supports some lefty “Baptist” church, and is a fixture at the U.N., supporting the rights of the world’s dictators. They put lipstick on them and trot them out as old line Democrats on a regular basis, but there are places where you can find out what they have really been up to.

  • John Cunningham

    I believe the Liberal Monster was uncovered right after George W. won a hotly contested race against Al Gore. Could you imagine if Gore had won? Or even John Kerry in 2004? Barack Obama, being golden tongued and black, made the Liberals throw Hillary in the dump.

    It was evident and, Conservatives sat back and did nothing to try to stop it. I am still mad at George W. Bush for allowing the new Congress of Liberals to run the Country after the the 2004 and 06 elections. That, and a complacent Bush allowed the Democrats to push Housing and banking charges that ruined our economy.

    Both Parties went hog wild with American tax payers money and , we as Citizens need to take a bigger role in our Government. If we don’t another Barack Obama is just down the pike and eventually Liberals will destroy America

  • AndRebecca

    I think the people in power in Washington and elsewhere have been told the same stuff. That the world is going left, and that America is going left as well. I think many of the Republicans have just tried to make it less painful. Even the Roman Catholics have come out of the closet as leftists. It will be hard for America to wake up because the left has Hollywood, the media and the schools. They just go behind the scenes and do whatever they want.

  • John Cunningham

    America is dying by a million cuts and, they don’t even feel it. Reality TV, I pods, texting, video games, have dumbed down America to the point of uselessness. Plus, apathy.

    As you said Catholics, mostly vote Democrat and the same for Jews. Both religions have the biggest reason not to but, they are deaf dumb and blind to reality when it comes to politics.

    I am 64 and in bad health but, ready if need be to defend my Country from the horrible Liberal horde who has peacefully but tragically taken our cherished Nation.

    I have two Sons and four Grandchildren. I would fight to my dying breath to insure they had the chance to grow up in an America like I had. Unfortunately I don’t think they will have that privilege.

  • AndRebecca

    John, You can do something. Do like the commies do, think globally act locally. You can google your local groups like the tea party on the net and see what they are doing in your area. You can join a political party, as a precinct committeeman. You can go to district meetings without being a PC to see what it is like. You can take your grandkids with you. You can talk politics to your grandkids and kids. Take them to the civic buildings and colleges in your area. I am a PC and I have friends in the party who are handicapped or married to handicapped people, and can’t show up to all the meetings, but manage to get things done. Do what you can do. I got involved because I received a phone call to support a landfill about 15 miles from our house. I got to see the Left in action against the landfill. What a circus. I have since been involved in other things including the redistricting in our state. You will get an inside seat on what is going on in your area and will know about the local infighting. It will make you feel good to be doing something about the problems and you will meet many great people, and some not so nice. And you will have a say. Take it slow at first, and then build up as you go along. The NRA also has local groups.

  • John Cunningham

    I am doing that very thing. I just moved to Florida from Indiana. My Family got tired of me and so I left. I have already started on the very Liberal news paper and have published in many newspapers including over seas. I have many books like the 5000 year leap and Democracy in America in which I used in my American History class as a Child.

    It is proof positive of the Founding Fathers being Godly Men of sound mind and morality. Many people in and around me are from New York and were raised Liberal. I am changing their mind. I am not sitting around unless, I can’t walk to well on a certain day. Mouth and brain still work

  • AndRebecca

    Great to hear you are doing something. As an ex-brainwashed liberal, I know it takes some time for what conservatives say to sink in, but keep at it, they may come around without you knowing it. I’m going to try to find the books you mentioned and add them to my collection. I started my political book collection with a book I found in an out of the way Baptist thrift store, title: “Love Child.” It was written in 1878, by a Socialist, here in America. Now, it took them from 1878 and before until recently to convince young women it is O.K., to have children out of wedlock, a love child, like the Marxists want them to do. So, we are still in the game. Americans have to be really worked on to buy into their evil. I also have an art textbook on western art, by a secular humanist who had to change his books to fit into Marxist revisionist history or they would not be printed anymore. Actually it was his son who had to change the books, they had been around decades with no problem. They were too Christian, and too Eurocentric for the Marxist book committee people.

  • John Cunningham

    There was a video made in America by the American Communist Party soon after the end of the Soviet Union. It set it’s goals for it’s over taking of America. It is a chilling video and, all the aims they wanted were achieved. America, this day, November 24th 2014, is in the clutches of Communism and our Government and the Democrat Party are in it up to their arm pits.

    I suggest trying to find this tape. It will scare the HELL out of you. If somehow this video was allowed to be shown to all of America, a revolution would ensue. I believe Ferguson Missouri could be the cinder to light the fire but, that’s OK. America has got to stand and throw off this Tyranny. If not America, is just another Rome, or Great Britain in the dust bin of History.

  • AndRebecca

    I’ll try to look for the video. I have a book written in the 1950s written by communists. It is a compilation of the sayings of Lenin on America, and it is chilling. It states the IWW and others were sent here to sabotage our war efforts before the first world war, and exactly what communists are against, Christians, families, W.A.SP.s and whatever they have shown to be against. All to end capitalism. All so people can’t have stuff, like food everyday. They want one huge world wide mass of extremely uneducated brutes to be on their side, to help them, the sociopaths run the world. It’s some sick stuff. Naturally they don’t phrase it like that.

  • John Cunningham

    The tape I saw talked about infiltration of schools and putting doubt in American History and also in Churches to help put the doubt about Christianity. Also the infiltation of ethnic groups. All this has been done and they can say with out doubt they have been successful.

  • AndRebecca

    I just googled America video by the American Communist Party, or something like that and came up with a bunch of stuff. There are videos on you tube about communists. One is Communists takeover America, Red Nightmare made in 1962, a good watch. Another was a list of Communist threats which are becoming a reality. This list is from a book “The Naked Communist,” by Skousen? I think I spelled it right. Lots out there. I say lots. In reality, not so much. Are we being brainwashed!

  • John Cunningham

    Unfortunately, the video from the 1987 or 1988 seminar of the American Communists aims has seemed to be rubbed out. Someone who knows how to find those video’s hidden like the IRS emails would be great.

  • AndRebecca

    I’ve had that happen a couple of times. If they get too much unwanted attention, it’s gone.