Commentators have been, well, commenting on Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber’s “shocking” remarks after Gruber was caught on video saying that Obamacare passed because of the “stupidity of the American voter.”
The video has been offered by Republicans as proof that the healthcare debate was built entirely on lies, while the Democrats are acting as if Gruber had nothing to do with the healthcare bill – as if Gruber was some crazy guy they accidentally swiped right on Tinder and now he is telling everyone they are boyfriend/girlfriend. Nancy Pelosi has been adamant that Gruber “did not help write our bill” despite the fact that Gruber was paid $400,000 by the government – so let’s hope he did something to warrant a fee equal to the president’s annual salary.
Gruber’s controversial argument essentially is that the language of Obamacare was manipulated in order for it to pass. For instance, if you don’t buy insurance you pay a “penalty” rather than a tax. Instead of taxing consumers buying plans, insurance companies are taxed and they pass that tax onto consumers.
This is all semantics. If you get a $1,200 bill for a tax and another $1,200 bill for a penalty, are you really happier about writing the check for the penalty? Of course not. So then why do Americans view a bill with a penalty as more favorable than one with a tax?
Because we’re stupid. We’re tricked by marketing every day. Commercials make us associate Bud Light and Coors Light with hot chicks, extreme sports, professional athletes, and bears fighting dragons, while in the real world 90% of the time we see a person drinking a bud light they’re fat, shirtless, and covered in Cheeeto dust.
Our minds are malleable pieces of marketing clay. That’s why almost all congressional bills are manipulated in order to pass. To do otherwise would be like writing an honest online dating profile – “Hi, my name is Jim, I’m bald, I only own two pairs of pants, and I’m a superfan of the TV show Bones.”
The Obamacare tax/penalty distinction came to the forefront during the related Supreme Court decision, when the administration then had to make an abrupt u-turn and argue that the penalty was in fact a tax and thus constitutional under Congress’s power to tax and spend. Architects of the plan like Gruber had spent years convincing “stupid voters” that it was not a tax, and then lawyers had to spend years trying to convince the justices that it was in fact a tax.
The rest of Gruber’s Obamacare comments are summed up in whole with this remark of his:
“If you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in — if you made it explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed, OK?”
This is essentially all Obamacare is – the rich and healthy people are paying for the poor and sick people. That’s fine. But it’s unfortunate that it had to be built on lies. Obama basically said he could let sick people buy insurance at the same price as healthy people, give money to poor people to buy insurance, and require insurance companies to cover more – all without raising taxes or premiums on anyone. He was essentially a used car salesman telling you that not only could he put you in a new Cadillac Escalade today, but that Escalade would get 45 mpg and he would pay you cash in order to drive it off the lot.
It is beyond comprehension that half of the media reported these now admitted lies as facts; but it is understandable that the “stupid voters” bought it because: (a) they are stupid and (b) the other half of the media was making up their own crazy lies about death panels and people dying in the waiting room. So it was easy for Gruber and others to engineer an incomprehensible bill since the media wasn’t interested in reporting it accurately. Half of journalists were endorsing Obamacare without bothering to understand it, while the other was busy fighting it without bothering to understand it.
Now someone has come from behind the scenes to admit they tried to confuse America with Obamacare. America is outraged – but still not outraged enough to actually take the time to understand Obamacare.