The Obama administration can try to distance itself from Jonathan Gruber all it wants, but a 2012 press release from Obama’s own presidential campaign shows that when it comes to Obamacare, the president and Gruber are joined at the hip.
The White House understandably wants to distance itself from Gruber. A series of videos that feature him bragging about his role in deceptively crafting Obamacare have started to come out, and they’re not even remotely helpful to the Obama administration. While on camera, Gruber claimed that lack of transparency in the law was a good thing, that the administration’s rhetoric about the so-called Cadillac tax was a complete lie, and that the lies were all necessary because stupid American voters were too dumb to know what was good for them.
Most important, Gruber’s claims in yet another video about how states that failed to establish health care exchanges were prohibited from receiving federal subsidies have greatly complicated the administration’s legal case in Halbig and King/Burwell, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court.
These claims from Gruber are important, because he’s widely cited as “the architect” of Obamacare. If anyone would understand the law’s original intent and design, it’s Gruber. His remarks about the differences in state and federal exchange show that there’s nothing at all absurd about believing that Obamacare as written was meant to provide subsidies only to individuals who signed up for coverage via a state-based health care exchange. As a result, the White House and even President Obama himself are desperately trying to distance the administration from Gruber’s remarks. Here’s what Obama said about Grubergate earlier this week:
“I just heard about this,” Obama said at a news conference after wrapping up two days of meetings with world leaders here at the Group of 20 summit. “…The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with, in terms of the voters, is no reflection on the actual process that was run.”
Did you catch that dodge? Despite the fact that Gruber was paid nearly $400,000 by the White House, he’s apparently a nobody since he didn’t technically serve as a payroll employee of the White House. Obama’s glib defense rings a bit hollow, though, when you consider the fact that his own presidential campaign blasted out a press release during the first 2012 presidential debate that characterized Gruber as the man “who helped write Obamacare.” Here’s a screen cap of the Oct. 3, 2012 press release from Obama’s campaign:
Note that the claim that Gruber “helped write” Obamacare isn’t just buried in some random paragraph in the press release. It was such an important detail that Obama’s communications team felt compelled to include it as its own separate heading, in bold.
Obama can try and run from Gruber and his videos all he wants, but it will never change the fact, cemented by an Obama campaign press release in the heat of a presidential campaign, that Gruber was in on the president’s health care ruse from the beginning.