Behold the Halbig-Gruber-ObamaCare ‘speak-o’ smoking gun
Apologies for the silly post title, but this is a very silly story, with the punchline being that America got saddled with the trillion-dollar disaster known as ObamaCare. If you weren’t already sold on the urgent necessity of full repeal, how about a simple appeal to reason: couldn’t we have a health-care reform that wasn’t written by liars, scam artists, and blithering idiots who don’t remember what they wrote?
Earlier this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals brought us the Halbig v. Burwell ruling, which in a better nation would decisively finish off ObamaCare. I remain highly skeptical that this decision will survive both a full court packed with Obama appointees and a Supreme Court that already rewrote the Affordable Care Act on the fly to save it. But it’s fun watching the Left freak out over this decision, and I must admit the possibility that they’re sizing up the danger posed by Halbig more accurately than my cynical analysis. Many left-wing pundits really do seem to think ObamaCare is in serious trouble.
Which is why they’re completely losing their marbles over the discovery of a 2012 video in which ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber confirms the core element of the Halbig ruling, and throws the Left’s entire defense into the trash, by confirming that the bloated Affordable Care Act was indeed specifically written to deny subsidies to the federal exchanges.
That’s why Halbig is a mortal threat to ObamaCare. The Affordable Care Act is, at heart, a crude wealth-redistribution scam, designed with two major objectives in mind: (1) make health insurance absolutely unaffordable for the middle and lower classes, thanks to a crushing burden of mandates, and (2) provide subsidies that will forever subjugate the middle class by making them into welfare dependents. Very few people would be able to afford health care without a heaping helping of other people’s money, delivered by a titanic government program. Threats to these subsidies would become an invaluable weapon for suppressing middle-class dissent from the Big Government agenda… which would be headed up by degeneration into full-blown single-payer health care, the ultimate triumph of the State over the individual. We would hear no more talk about trimming down the size of government, now that government was leasing the very bodies of its citizens, with an option to buy.
Every other consideration for ObamaCare was purely secondary. This business of cost inflation and subsidies was the whole game. But there were some political matters to take into account. The American people would never in a million years have allowed ObamaCare to pass, if they knew the truth about it. The truth had to be concealed; the chains of compulsion had to be disguised as velvet ropes. The trap had to be hidden. The program had to be presented to a baffled voting public as largely voluntary, when in truth it was anything but. They would check in to the Hotel California, and only later discover that while you can check out any time you like, you can never leave.
The effort to trick state governments into thinking ObamaCare was voluntary involved giving them an illusory option to back out of the state exchange system. They would be told they could allow the federal government to run those health care exchanges. The ObamaCare scam artists never intended that illusion to last for long, so they built in a doomsday mechanism: federal exchange customers would not receive subsidies. This was supposed to produce irresistible political pressure on recalcitrant state governments to create their exchanges.
And that’s exactly how Gruber – who once billed himself as the world’s leading authority on this disastrous law, and was paid $400,000 dollars as a consultant by the Obama Administration – put it back in 2012. The bill had been shoved down America’s throat with a coating of lies, and it was time to start springing those traps. Reason has the transcript of what Gruber is now hilariously describing as a “speak-o” – the verbal equivalent of a typo, which is what desperate ObamaCare defenders are calling the prohibition against federal subsidy payments.
What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this.
As I’ve noted before, this is of a piece with Barack Obama’s endless lies about “keeping your plan if you like your plan” and “keeping your doctor if you like your doctor.” The language of “choice” was used, but the reality was compulsion.
One of the reasons I remain a bit skeptical about ObamaCare getting Halbigged to death is that the subsidy trap can still work exactly as Gruber and the other ObamaCare scam artists intended. If the decision striking down federal subsidies stands, the political pressure on states to quickly set up their own exchanges will be as “ugly” as Gruber promised. On the other hand, I suspect these “speak-o” comments, and clownish pundit antics to spin the Gruber video away, will only shore up public distaste for ObamaCare heading into the midterm elections.
Why should any self-respecting nation submit itself to a busted plan that didn’t live up to any of its promises, costs far more than we were told, offers none of the freedoms we were promised, and is defended by people who describe themselves as babbling fools who don’t understand the programs they support? We’re getting closer and closer to ObamaCare apologists openly admitting that they view the law as an unconstitutional enabling act – it says whatever they need it to say, at any given moment, and never mind the actual words written on the papers that Congress and President Obama signed. Heck, some of those papers were blank anyway. Oh, the mainstream media didn’t get around to telling you that in 2010, eh? Tough break, suckers.
For now, just sit back and enjoy the show. There hasn’t been this much confusion caused by a Gruber since Nakatomi Plaza was taken hostage on Christmas Eve.
Update: It looks like Gruber delivered this little “speak-o” more than once. Maybe he should seek treatment for this apparent brain damage.
The Gruber footnote in John Roberts’s Halbig opinion will be glorious
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) July 25, 2014
Or we’ll get to enjoy Obama’s people on the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ignore these repeated statements of intent and treat the Affordable Care Act as a huge mass of typos.
Update: Note well that the second “speak-o” linked above came from prepared remarks, not an informal off-the-cuff running conversation.
Update: Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), one of the legislative godfathers of ObamaCare – who would later go on to describe his baby as a “train wreck,” before skedaddling from Congress – is also on the record supporting Gruber’s assertion that only state exchange customers were meant to be eligible for subsidies.