Monday, November 17, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude Grubnado Edition

Instapundit was noting that ‘gruber‘ is now a verb. Surely, though, the pile of hooey that is ObamaCare has room for a little more coinage as the ooze flows about, engulfing Progressive dreams in fetid sludge.

Grubado: noun. A portmanteau of ‘Gruber’ and ‘bravado’, this is that special panache with which a sociopath politician suddenly disavows a formerly prominent advisor.
I was thinking more along the lines of a portanteau of 'Gruber' and "Sharknado', a swirling storm of lies, two handed economists, and politicians and lawyers with sharp teeth and small brains.

All we need  for a good cheesy Sci-Fi movie is a washed-up actress with moderate sized tits to help the hero chainsaw their way to safety. Maybe Amanda Bynes.

Obama On Gruber – Just Some Guy That Wasn’t On Our Staff
This is now officially a scandal. Obama just played the “I didn’t know anything about this until I saw media reports” standard BS line.

If Gruber was just some advisor, not on your staff, why did you pay him almost a half million dollars, and loan him to Congressional staff?
Gruber-gate gets to Obama: ‘No, I did not’ mislead Americans
When asked directly if he or his administration had, as Gruber insisted, intentionally misled the public and oversight organizations like the Congressional Budget Office when they crafted the Accordable Care Act, Obama’s reply was terse and direct. “No,” he said. “I did not.”

Obama was joined on Sunday by Health and Human Services Sec. Sylvia Burwell who appeared on Meet the Press to distance herself and the administration from Gruber.

“I have to start with how fundamentally I disagree with his comments about the bill and about the American people,” she began emphatically.

Burwell was, however, not asked to respond to those comments. She was asked by moderator Chuck Todd about whether what Gruber said about “mislabeling” new taxes on health insurance plans as fees was true.
Dear Democrats, Don’t Even Think about Running from Jonathan Gruber
Ian Tuttle has a nice piece up over on the homepage about the Democrats’ many efforts to distance themselves from Jonathan “stupidity of the American voter” Gruber. He used to be known as the “architect” of Obamacare and now, according to CBS News, the Democrats are trying to “turn Gruber into a stranger.”
Not so fast.

In a 2010 piece, the Daily Kos outlined Gruber’s deep ties to the White House and to HHS, providing even links to his HHS contracts and the stated justifications for his contracts. The language from the presolicitation notice is particularly interesting (note highlighted portions):
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), intends to negotiate with Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D. on a sole sources basis for technical assistance in evaluating options for national healthcare reform. The basis for restricting competition is the authority of 41 USC 253(c)(1) 106-1(b) because there is only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy DHHS requirements.The anticipated contract period will be eight months. [Emphasis added].
. . .
That’s not all. Daily Kos also helpfully links to five White House blog posts citing Gruber. One of them, by Nancy-Ann DeParle (then assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy) demonstrates how much the administration relied on his expertise in public debate. Titled, “MIT Economist Confirms Senate Health Reform Bill Reduces Costs and Improves Coverage,”  . . .
From the Washington Post: What was Jonathan Gruber’s role in putting together the Affordable Care Act?
While it is probably overstating things to describe Gruber as an “architect” of the law, as so many recent reports have, he was also no ordinary adviser — as evidenced by the fact that he was paid nearly $400,000 by the administration for his work.

And his advice was important at critical moments when the bill’s survival was in jeopardy.

One of those times was July 20, 2009.

Four days before, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf had declared that the bills that were going through the legislative process in the House and Senate would fail to bring the “fundamental change” necessary to bring down health costs over the long run. Elmendorf’s pronouncement struck at one of the basic rationales for the whole endeavor of overhauling the nation’s health-care system, even as opposition was building on the right. . .
Grubergate shines spotlight on Obamacare profiteers
. . .But there is no doubt that Obamacare created a lot of work for at least one American -- MIT professor Jonathan Gruber. Gruber's frank admissions that he and others deceived the public about Obamacare have drawn a lot of attention in recent days. But the money that Gruber made from Obamacare raises yet another issue about his involvement in the project. Throughout 2009 and 2010, he energetically advocated a bill from which he stood to profit. And when it became law, the money rolled in.

In 2009, as Obamacare was moving its way through Senate committees, Gruber, who had achieved a measure of fame as the architect of Romneycare in Massachusetts, was a paid consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services. In March of that year, he received a contract for $95,000 to work on the project, and in June he received a second contract to continue that work; it was worth $297,600. Together, they comprise the "nearly $400,000" that critics have said Gruber received to work on Obamacare.

But after the bill became law, Gruber made a good deal more from it. The Affordable Care Act provided for states to set up exchanges to sell taxpayer-subsidized insurance coverage. For those states that chose to do so, exchanges would have to be built from the ground up. Studies would have to be done. Contracts would be let.

In 2010, the state of Wisconsin, under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, paid Gruber $400,000 to do a study of the impact of healthcare reform. By the time Gruber finished his report, Republican Scott Walker had been elected governor and wasn't much interested in using Gruber's study. "State officials did not invite Gruber to Wisconsin for the release of his study nor did they set up a conference call with him for reporters or even provide them with his contact information," the Madison, Wis., Capital Times reported. "That is unusual for an important report like this, which cost $400,000."
A list of other states that paid Gruber: Minnesota,  $329,000;West Virginia, $121,500; Vermont, $91,875, Michigan to Gruber and others, $481,050.
Of course others profited from Obamacare, too, and still are. Republican Mike Leavitt, a former governor of Utah and Mitt Romney adviser, has a consulting firm that has made millions off the exchanges. But Gruber's recent admissions might put him in a special category. He is, by his own account, a man who intentionally deceived the public in order to pass a measure from which he stood to profit handsomely.
Sounds like Bolgia 8 material to me.

There is even some talk of sanctioning Gruber in Colorado for taking a contract as a supposedly unbiased analyst of health care costs: Grubergate hists Colorado
The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative paid Obamacare advocate and administration analyst Jonathan Gruber to produce an “independent” report in support of Colorado’s Health Insurance Exchange in 2011. This work came after the analyst’s failure to disclose his paid work to editors at newspapers which published his columns advocating for the law. The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative describes itself as “active supporters” of Obamacare and its implementation here in Colorado.

Gruber is currently under scrutiny for a series of video clips in which he 1) acknowledges having lied about the content Obamacare in order to help get it passed, 2) refers to the “stupidity” and “economic illiteracy” of the American public as assets in passing the law, and 3) admits that the plaintiffs’ argument in pending litigation is correct—enrollees on the federal exchange were specifically and intentionally excluded from receiving subsidies.

Forgotten, however, is that in January 2010, Gruber was penning op-ed pieces in the Washington Post and New York Times advocating for Obamacare, without having disclosed to his editors that he received nearly $400,000 from the administration to produce an “objective analysis,” that would be used in promoting the legislation.
And by way of Wombat-socho's "Live at Five: 11.17.14" a number of Grubernado and Obamacare Schadenfreude blog posts:

Crashr: Obamacare – Brought To Us By Forrest Gruber
American Thinker: Smug Filled Rooms
STUMP: Obamacare Watch – Get Ready For Tax Season 2015
The Gateway Pundit: Hitler Finds Out Gruber’s Been Spilling The Obamacare Beans 

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