Halloween is behind us, but some weird tales are still coming out of Washington. The latest Tale From the Political Crypt to raise the hackles of fright fans is the disappearance of MIT professor Jon Gruber, who is slowly vanishing right before our eyes – erased from history by the Democrat Party and their friendly media. He’ll be airbrushed out of photos, Stalin-style, any day now.
What brought this strange fate down upon Gruber? What invisible beast from beyond space and time is consuming him? None other than ObamaCare, the bureaucratic demon Gruber worked so hard to summon. Conservative activists – most definitely not any duly accredited “investigative reporters” in service to our mainstream media gatekeepers! – have uncovered a few inconvenient videos of public appearances where Gruber admitted ObamaCare was a massive fraud, a pack of lies foisted on what he described as “stupid American voters” because they never would have allowed the Affordable Care Act to pass, if they had known the truth about it. Gruber made these admissions not as a concession of guilt, but in a spasm of gleeful back-patting for himself and the other grifters who saddled us with this disastrous program. It was all for your own, good, you see. It’s important for the elite to force people to accept Great Ideas they might otherwise resist, and that means keeping a few big secrets, because one of the core tenets of socialism is that ignorant rubes can’t be trusted with the freedom or knowledge to make big decisions for themselves.
Naturally, the mainstream media rushed to bury the biggest news of the week, with most major networks running zero stories on the Gruber tapes until today. Since Republicans will surely bring Gruber’s comments up during press conferences and public appearances, the networks realized they would have been put in the awkward position of telling voters that they’d know what their distinguished guests were talking about, if they had chosen to watch Fox News instead of ABC, CBS, or NBC. The story finally shattered the MSM bubble on Thursday and began attracting coverage, primarily designed to either downplay the Gruber revelations, or portray the whole thing as a partisan political obsession of Republicans. The Washington Post, for example, went to print with the headline “‘Stupidity’ Comments Renew GOP Vitriol On ObamaCare.”
So Fox News viewers were once again ahead of the curve, better informed on a major story than mainstream-media consumers, who had to wait a few days for their information gatekeepers to decide the story could not be suffocated by depriving it of oxygen, so it would have to be strangled by downplaying it. On Tuesday, Fox host Megyn Kelly ran the Gruber clips over the banner “White House Advisor Calls Voters Stupid,” with some distinctly unamused reactions from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who denounced “the arrogance of thinking that he knows what is best for this country, and the citizens and the voters do not.”
So as the rest of the media reluctantly falls into line behind Fox News – desperately hoping their viewers don’t as any uncomfortable questions about why our hard-nosed truth-seeking journalists never sussed out these year-old videos before, taken from several different Gruber appearances, or for that matter why he was able to slip these massive deceptions past the host of media “fact checkers” with such ease in 2009 – the Democrat Party began to hilariously insist that it has no idea who Jon Gruber is, never heard of the guy, can’t imagine why he thinks he knows anything about the Affordable Care Act. The apex of this pure, undiluted bullshit was reached by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who declared, “I don’t know who he is, he didn’t help write our bill”… even though Gruber is cited as an authority on her own web page, and her staffers apparently forgot to delete the references, at least as of Thursday afternoon. Keep checking that web page and you might just see another piece of Jon Gruber disappear!
Of course, it will be hard for Democrats to sand-blast every video clip of them talking about Gruber in years gone by off the Internet…
Pelosi and the rest of the radioactive Democrat leadership are proving Gruber’s point with this ridiculous spectacle: they clearly think their voters are so mind-numbingly stupid that they can be persuaded to forgot about the primary architect of ObamaCare by watching their Party masters pretend they never heard of the guy. Or, if you prefer, this can be thought of as a test of obedience. You don’t actually have to forget about Jon Gruber; you just have to obey Nancy Pelosi without question when she instructs you to recite the new Party dogma that he had nothing to do with crafting the Affordable Care Act. Since he’s been spitting out another bomb every time he opens his mouth, maybe the Party should exile him to a comfortable dacha in Eastasia, or Eurasia, whichever he prefers.
They might want to get Gruber out of the United States before congressional Republicans put him under oath, something Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) of the House Oversight Committee has been considering. “We may want to have hearings on this,” said Jordan on Wednesday. “We shouldn’t be surprised they were misleading us.”
No, we really shouldn’t, should we?
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the horrors of ObamaCare go far beyond making an inconvenient academic disappear. Favored health-insurance plans are disappearing too, as the next tsunami of the insurance cancellations President Obama swore we’d never face is ripping across the country, just in time for 2015’s higher insurance premiums to be disclosed at last. The possible end of subsidies for federal exchange subsidies at the Supreme Court, when it hears the King v. Burwell case, could leave ObamaCare buyers in 36 states paying the full freight for their own insurance plans. Horrors!
And if those poor souls are thinking about bailing on the President’s collapsing scheme and refusing to buy his overpriced insurance plans, well, there’s a very unpleasant individual mandate monster waiting to pounce on you. Like the creature in “Alien,” it’s gotten a lot bigger since it burst from the chest of the deceptive Affordable Care Act. CBS News reports:
Americans will see their bank accounts shrink if they don’t sign up for Obamacare in its second enrollment season.
Uninsured Americans who decide not to enroll will face a penalty of $325 per person, more than tripling the $95 penalty those who did not enroll had to pay the first time around.
Children under the age of 18 will be fined $162.50. The maximum amount an uninsured family will be penalized is $975 under the flat-rate method.
“The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage,” Laura Adams, senior analyst of InsuranceQuotes.com, told CBS News. “This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.”
CBS News reports that many Obamacare plans will be charging more as a 27-year-old earning 250 percent of the poverty rate will now have to pay an average of 7 percent more for the lowest-cost bronze plan. The analysis from Investor’s Business Daily found that the lowest-cost silver plan will rise 9 percent and the lowest-priced catastrophic policy will go up by 18 percent.
Maybe the new, higher penalties will goose the ridiculously under-performing enrollment numbers up, because unless some tough penalty whips are applied to the hides of captive Americans pronto, enrollment will hardly grow at all from 2014 to 2015. Not only are new enrollments anemic, but a recent survey revealed that 51 percent of existing ObamaCare customers were not planning to buy policies next year. A 51 percent attrition rate, and new enrollments close to 40 percent below two-year projections? Wow, people really love this program, don’t they? Death spiral for private insurance, here we come!
Another creepy ObamaCare story is how the law is turning rural hospitals into haunted houses, which will leave some of America’s most vulnerable citizens without access to care. What good is “health insurance” if you can’t get a doctor? From USA Today:
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 stand-alone, community hospital is going the way of the dinosaur,” says Angela Mattie, chairwoman of the health care management and organizational leadership department at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University, known for its public opinion surveys on issues including public health.
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.
Don’t worry, urban and suburban America – the bureaucratic hassles and low reimbursement rates of ObamaCare will be choking your supply of doctors off soon enough.
The horde of job-eating gremlins released from the ObamaCare freak show are still hard at work, accelerating America’s transformation into a part-time economy where hard-working people need government assistance to make ends meet. A move is afoot in the Republican Senate to change the ACA’s definition of full-time work to 40 hours, or even more, to remove the incentives created by the law for business owners to hold their employees at 29 hours or less. The Wall Street Journal gives us a glimpse of the employment massacre to come, using the example of American Leisure in New York and its 300 employees:
Starting next year, companies like his, with at least 100 full-time workers, are required to offer health coverage—or face fines, ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 per employee. Those with at least 50 full-time workers must provide coverage to their full-timers by 2016, or risk facing the penalties.
About 40% of American Leisure’s employees work between 30 and 40 hours a week, while just over half work more than 40 hours, he says.
With the law’s current definition of a full-time workweek at 30 hours, he is likely to reduce the weekly hours for many of his employees. “We just can’t absorb the costs” of providing all of them with health coverage that complies with the current rules, [owner Steve] Kass says.
He acknowledges that if he cuts his employees’ weekly hours, “a lot of these people will have to get second jobs.”
That’s music to a socialist’s ears. What could be better than a nation of dispirited part-time employees who work their butts off, but still can’t get enough hours to pay their bills, or build the kind of long-term career success that comes from full-time work? Those people will need government assistance for not just health care, but food, utilities, rent… a bold future of helpless dependency that will ensure no serious effort to trim the size of government is ever made again. What horror anthology would be complete without a gang of mad scientists performing socio-economic experiments on unsuspecting victims?
Just in case the servile dependency of a transformed American workforce isn’t enough, the Democrats are working hard to import more dependents. Remember when Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) yelled “You lie!” at Barack Obama during a 2009 speech? He was challenging Obama’s assertion that ObamaCare would never extend benefits to illegal aliens. Wilson was, of course, absolutely correct – it was inevitable that ObamaCare benefits would be extended to the undocumented community. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is now openly calling for “dreamers” to be covered, and discussing the alleged reluctance of legal immigrants to enroll in ObamaCare, for fear that the mega-bureaucracy will detect and deport their illegal relatives. Of course, that will all be a mute point if President Obama violates the Constitution to hand out amnesty to four or five million Undocumented-Americans. Get ready for the ObamaCare cost estimates Jon Gruber bragged about gaming to be revised upward again.
ObamaCare’s problems can’t be fixed by muzzling Gruber, and while his contempt for liberty and democracy is aggravating, it’s his earlier comments about the deliberate intention to deny subsidies to federal exchange customers that might well doom ObamaCare at the Supreme Court. A program failing as badly as this one isn’t likely to survive the demise of its subsidy network; if it was more popular, perhaps a bad Court ruling could be judo-flipped into leverage that would force governors in the 36 resisting states to give up and create ObamaCare exchanges. That’s still a possibility, or maybe the Court will sweep away the last vestiges of republican self-government by deciding that the plain text of laws doesn’t really matter, and the all-powerful executive can interpret them any way he pleases. The ObamaCare horror story isn’t over yet, but let us never forget, or forgive, the fog of deception in which this nightmare began.