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Disavow Gruber? They can’t



The institution of Congress takes the blame, but its members really should. Many of them proved that at the State of the Union speech. Many have let lobbyists buy them. But how to drain the swamp? Donald Trump pledged to do this, regarding ObamaCare and other issues.

The Democrats, from Barack H. Obama down, suddenly never heard of Jonathan Gruber. Or did they? Sorry, but we have too much video footage, not only of Jonathan Gruber himself but of those same Democratic leaders. They seek to disavow him now. But after years of citing him and touting him, they cannot.

“The Secretary will disavow…”

Obama applauds his bill but now tries to disavow one of its key architects.

De facto President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and several senior advisers applaud when the House of Representatives takes up Obamacare and “deems it passed.” Photo: The White House

Maybe you remember a CBS-TV weekly prime-time series: Mission: Impossible. If you do, you remember the premise. Every week, a man plays a tape of his “mission orders.” Sometimes some pictures come with the tape, pictures of his “mark.” For this man, a con artist, leads a team of con artists. And the tape always ends with this dire disclaimer:

As always, should you or any member of your [team] be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

The narrator then instructs the con artist either to wait for the tape player to eat the tape with acid, or to “please dispose of this tape in the usual manner,” by burning, an explosion, or however.

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Maybe Jonathan Gruber should have taken “mission orders” like these. Because not only the Secretary (of Health and Human Services) but also the (de facto) President now disavows any knowledge of his actions and even of the man.

“I don’t know Jonathan Gruber,” says Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco. “He didn’t write our bill.” Oh really? Then why, Madame Leader, when you were Madam Speaker, did you cite him five years ago?

“It’s not helpful when a man, who was not a member of my staff, says something I frankly disagree with,” says Obama. But Obama avowed he “stole some good ideas” from Gruber, among others.

Of course, Obama says more: he frostily denies having deceived anyone. This after Jonathan Gruber not only says they did, but also is proud of doing it. Gruber said something more: he spoke of being in the same room with Obama and talking about how to “spin” the program. Which is to say, how to con the people. (Steven Hill and Peter Graves, call your agents.)

John Fund at National Review Online gives more details, about Gruber’s career and the Democrats clumsily trying to disavow him. Michael Tanner points out this is only one reason among many that Obamacare had a “bad month.” (The other reasons: the midterm election results, the Supreme Court “granting cert” on a key Obamacare case, and low enrollment, current and projected.)

Disavow the truth?

Jonathan Gruber called American voters “stupid.” Why? Because as he saw it, they couldn’t recognize how Obamacare would do them good. But maybe the voters were not so much “stupid” as “easy marks.” They don’t understand (and maybe some don’t want to understand) how much Obamacare will really cost. That, the Democrats cannot disavow forever. Some voters are hearing already: the program will cost more than they were paying before, and more than Gruber and others led them to expect.

That truth will become abundantly clear as “open enrollment” goes on, and as cancellation notices keep coming.

Will that lead to the “death spiral,” or “adverse selection,” as the actuaries call it? Yes. The program will hurt people badly enough with its costs. But what happens when the people discover they can do something else? Like take part in a faith-based expense-sharing plan that not only costs less, but gives an active incentive for being healthy? People will drop Obamacare like an ugly stone. And it will sink like one.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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