This one’s less of a smoking gun about deception, and more of a schadenfruede-tastic exposure of Jonathan Gruber as an arrogant crank. Watchdog.org’s Bruce Parker has this clip from the ObamaCare architect’s appearance before a Vermont legislative panel in February 2011, where one of the committee members read a warning letter about the dangers of adopting a massive, top-down government program controlling health insurance markets. After hearing a list of predicted negative consequences, Gruber dismissed it as something that might have been “written by my adolescent children” (via Jeff Dunetz):
The room may have exploded in laughter, but here’s what the adolescent writer predicted would result from ObamaCare:
- Coercive mandates
- Ballooning costs
- Increased taxes
- Bureaucratic outrages
- Shabby facilities
- Disgruntled providers
- Long waiting lines
- Lower quality care
- Special-interest nest-feathering,
- Destructive wage and price controls
You know, for an adolescent, these predictions look …spookily accurate, don’t they? The bill itself had a coercive mandate already, and we’ve seen ballooning costs in premiums – exactly what ObamaCare was promised to cure. There’s also a coercive HHS contraception mandate, too, courtesy of the carte blanche the law gave HHS to issue coverage requirements. The rollout was one bureaucratic outrage after another, and the web portal may be poised to deliver even more of them starting tomorrow. Thanks to the exodus by disgruntled providers, consumers now have a much narrower choice of providers, which has extended wait times for care significantly. ObamaCare is filled with taxes that will get passed along to the consumer, including the Cadillac tax that Gruber specifically cited as a central deception in the ObamaCare effort.
Who could this clairvoyant adolescent be? Parker explains that it was no adolescent at all. The letter came from John McLaughry, who served two terms as a Vermont state senator, but more importantly as a senior policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan:
“It was actually written by a former senior policy adviser in the White House who knew something about health care systems,” said John McClaughry, a two-term Vermont state senator and adviser to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
McClaughry, who wrote the comment in an op-ed weeks before the 2011 committee meeting, told Vermont Watchdog he did not know Gruber made the condescending insult. However, he was aware of other videos discovered this week in which Gruber boasted of writing deceptive policies to trick “stupid” American voters.
“No one should trust this man. … Based on the rest of the stuff that’s come out on the videos, nobody can trust this guy. He has no use for transparency, he thinks people are stupid, and he’ll do anything to get this thing through and pocket his $400,000. That’s not in the interest of the people of Vermont,” McClaughry said.
D’oh! Looks like McLaughry had a much more expert view on the situation than the contemptuous Gruber. The only prediction that hasn’t come true yet is “shabby facilities,” but that will take somewhat longer to develop. Still, ObamaCare is responsible for closing rural hospitals across the nation already, which leaves many Americans without any recourse to specialty or even emergency care:
Since the beginning of 2010, 43 rural hospitals — with a total of more than 1,500 beds — have closed, according to data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. The pace of closures has quickened: from 3 in 2010 to 13 in 2013, and 12 already this year. Georgia alone has lost five rural hospitals since 2012, and at least six more are teetering on the brink of collapse. Each of the state’s closed hospitals served about 10,000 people — a lot for remaining area hospitals to absorb.
The Affordable Care Act was designed to improve access to health care for all Americans and will give them another chance at getting health insurance during open enrollment starting this Saturday. But critics say the ACA is also accelerating the demise of rural outposts that cater to many of society’s most vulnerable. These hospitals treat some of the sickest and poorest patients — those least aware of how to stay healthy. Hospital officials contend that the law’s penalties for having to re-admit patients soon after they’re released are impossible to avoid and create a crushing burden. …
The closings threaten to decimate a network of rural hospitals the federal government first established beginning in the late 1940s to ensure that no one would be without health care. It was a theme that resonated during the push for the new health law. But rural hospital officials and others say that federal regulators — along with state governments — are now starving the hospitals they created with policies and reimbursement rates that make it nearly impossible for them to stay afloat.
Low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements hurt these hospitals more than others because it’s how most of their patients are insured, if they are at all. Here in Stewart County, it’s a problem that expanding Medicaid to all of the poorest patients -– which the ACA intended but 23 states including Georgia have not done, according to the federal government — would help, but wouldn’t solve.
“They set the whole rural system up for failure,” says Jimmy Lewis, CEO of Hometown Health, an association representing rural hospitals in Georgia and Alabama, believed to be the next state facing mass closures. “Through entitlements and a mandate to provide service without regard to condition, they got us to (the highest reimbursements), and now they’re pulling the rug out from under us.”
Maybe if health-care reform hadn’t been quarterbacked by arrogant elitists suffering through their own case of arrested adolescence, we could have avoided all these problems.