Last night, Noah posted the 2-minute video from American Commitment on Gruberama that he called “positively enraging.” Not too many media outlets have responded to this story very well, but Jake Tapper at CNN has been an exception to that rule. Today, Tapper offers a four-minute video that not only will enrage but enlighten on exactly why Jonathan Gruber’s remarks are a story, and why the White House denials of connections to Gruber are another story in themselves. Both speak to credibility, and on both Gruber and ObamaCare, Barack Obama has none at all:
At a town hall meeting where he campaigned for health care legislation in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to voters that he did not want any tax on health insurance plans he perceived as wastefully generous to ever impact average Americans. But in recent comments by one of the men who helped draft the legislation, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, that is not only precisely what will happen — but that was the intention of the tax. …
At a town hall meeting on health care on July 23, 2009 in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Obama explained that the thinking of the Cadillac tax was to target plans that spend unnecessarily and excessively, thus driving up health care costs, such as a $25,000 plan, “so one that’s a lot more expensive and a lot fancier than the one that even members of Congress get.”
The thinking, Obama explained, was that “maybe at that point what you should do is you should sort of cap the exclusion, the tax deduction that is available, so that we’re discouraging these really fancy plans that end up driving up costs.”
The President at that point hadn’t yet signed off on a Cadillac tax (he would eventually) but he did make the pledge: “what I said and I’ve taken off the table would be the idea that you just described, which would be that you would actually provide — you would eliminate the tax deduction that employers get for providing you with health insurance, because, frankly, a lot of employers then would stop providing health care, and we’d probably see more people lose their health insurance than currently have it. And that’s not obviously our objective in reform.”
That promise is completely at odds with how Gruber describes not only that provision of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, but the intention of that provision.
If American Commitment’s video helps to get voters “enraged” about Gruberama, then Tapper’s four-minute primer should serve as a challenge to the rest of the media, which seems to have missed a big story. According to Gruber’s comments, the tax penalty for so-called Cadillac plans will eventually hit all employer-based plans, which will incentivize many employers to stop offering insurance altogether. Many of us made that argument all along, but the White House consistently denied that this would be the outcome of ObamaCare. Now we know that its architect not only knew about it, but openly bragged about it.
CNN repeatedly asked the White House to respond to Tapper’s report, but only got a “no comment.” Quelle surprise.
Meanwhile, the Vermont man whom Gruber derided as an “adolescent” in 2011 describes Gruber in much the same way. Former state senator and White House adviser John McClaughry says Gruber mainly likes running off at the mouth:
“As a recovering politician I would say it was a very inept statement by Gruber,” McClaughery said.
Gruber holds a $450,000 contract with the state of Vermont. Republicans are calling for him to be fired but McClaughry wouldn’t tell us if he agrees. He does have a response for Gruber though.
“Gruber is an incessant self promoter, he likes contracts, he likes money, he likes recognition, he likes running his mouth,” McClaughry said.