All the president’s men could not shield the commander-in-chief from fallout surrounding recently uncovered comments made by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber.
The health policy and implementation expert who worked closely on the Affordable Care Act and the Massachusetts health care reform law has backed the administration into a corner after it was revealed he repeatedly celebrated the misleading way in which the law was crafted and the “stupidity” of the American voter over whose eyes the wool was pulled.
“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,” Obama told reporters in Australia where he is attending a G-20 summit.
When asked directly if he or his administration had, as Gruber insisted, intentionally misled the public and oversight organizations like the Congressional Budget Office when they crafted the Accordable Care Act, Obama’s reply was terse and direct. “No,” he said. “I did not.”
Obama was joined on Sunday by Health and Human Services Sec. Sylvia Burwell who appeared on Meet the Press to distance herself and the administration from Gruber.
“I have to start with how fundamentally I disagree with his comments about the bill and about the American people,” she began emphatically.
Burwell was, however, not asked to respond to those comments. She was asked by moderator Chuck Todd about whether what Gruber said about “mislabeling” new taxes on health insurance plans as fees was true.
Neither the secretary nor Obama addressed Gruber’s charge directly because it is impossible to deny its accuracy.
It is not the first time the president has been pulled into a controversy over the implementation of Obamacare. After weeks of controversy following a cascade of Americans who lost their individual coverage plans which were not compliant with new Obamacare regulations last year, the president was forced to issue a personal apology.
“I am sorry that they– you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me,” Obama told Todd in the fall of 2013.
Just days after Obama issued this apology, however, it was revealed that the president was aware that millions of noncompliant plans would be cancelled. Despite his apology for the incorrect assertion Obama made on numerous occasions, that you could keep your plan if you liked your plan, the administration knew this was not true.
“That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them,” NBC News reported.
Anyone who followed the Obamacare debate in 2009 and 2010 is already aware that Obama was not being truthful when he denied that the ACA was written to evade scrutiny. Though noting that it is an imperfect feature of the American system, intellectually honest liberals who support the law are already defending the lamentable practice of deceptively crafting legislation so that it avoids creating controversy.
So how long will it be before Barack Obama is forced to walk back his definitive declaration that he never knew the ACA was crafted so as to mislead the people’s representatives who passed it?