We learned on Friday that the Supreme Court will take up an appeal from the Fourth Circuit in the case of King v. Burwell, even though there’s no split between the circuits on how to handle Obamacare’s subsidies, when they’re handed out to people in a state that doesn’t set up their own Obamacare insurance exchange. The crux of that problem? Apparently, Democrats were in such a hurry to pass the legislation before anyone read it, that they failed to read it themselves, resulting in some unclear language that might not pass Constitutional muster: they limited the subsidies, allowing them to only apply to participants in state exchanges. According to Obamacare’s architect Jonathan Gruber, that was totally just a typo.
Except that Jonathan Gruber, in 2012, said that Obamacare was designed exactly that way. If you’re in a red state that doesn’t set up an exchange, you don’t get your tax subsidies. Because, of course, that would hopefully make you angry enough to turn your red state blue. Because according to Jonathan Gruber, all Americans are really interested in is free stuff. And since intention matters in both the construction and interpretation of a law, Gruber could have provided the key to tanking Obamacare itself.
Today, we find out that not only did Gruber intend to use Obamacare as a tool to shift political sentiment, but that he specifically intended to push the legislation through before anyone except he got a chance to read it.
In the video, Gruber says that ““Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage…And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.” And that the bill itself was drafted in such a way as to fake out the Congressional Budget Office, which should have classified Obamacare’s burden on individual Americans as a “tax,” since any bill tagged as a “tax” immediately loses support (Chief Justice John Roberts, later on, corrected the intentional oversight). The CBO initially scored Obamacare as “deficit neutral.”
The funny thing here is that, while Gruber basically thinks everyone in America, possibly except for himself, is a blathering idiot, he seems to have, earlier, counted on American voters to at least pick up that “red states” were going to deny them the healthcare subsidies they so richly deserved and vote accordingly. Of course, he could just be like many of the Democrats who lost on Tuesday: a quivering mass of Ivy League condescenion, hell bent on denying to himself that American voters exhibit any priority other than self-interest, but unlike his defeated bretheren, he’s also too clever by half. He backed himself into a corner on the subsidy front, admitting that the subsidy provision was specifically constructed with political goals in mind, and here, he can’t help himself, giggling over his own intellectual superiority, while admitting his nefarious plans.
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