Gruber Much Greater in ACA, King v. Burwell Decision Looms

Editor’s Note – As the Supreme Court gets set to hand down its ruling in the King v. Burwell case concerning subsidies for Obamacare in states without their own exchanges, much consternation has gripped Washington, D.C. The ruling could came any day now.

The case here isn’t about the law in general, it’s about the specific question of whether tax credits, or subsidies, offered on federally-established exchanges are legal under Obamacare. The law allowed states to establish their own insurance exchanges or to let the federal government do it for them using the HealthCare.gov exchange.

Obamacare Faces Its Own Death Panel Before Supreme Court… And It's Losing (Gateway Pundit)
Obamacare Faces Its Own Death Panel Before Supreme Court… And It’s Losing (Gateway Pundit)

The plaintiffs argue that four words in the tax section of the law, “established by the state,” indicate that Congress intended for subsidies to be received only by enrollees on state exchanges, and that the law should be read as it is written.

The defendants argue that the law should be read in its entirety, in which case it is clear that subsidies are offered on all exchanges, and that was the authors’ intent all along. (Read more here at the National Journal.)

Obama and the left are already blaming the Republicans if the court rules against them and they do not have a back-up plan, nor do we think they want one so they can once again inflict heavy damage to families as they did when it was implemented.

The thought is that the blame will rest squarely on Congress and the “stupid American voter” will once again be relied upon to believe them.

Days before the Supreme Court could strip it of a central component, there is still no “plan B” for Obamacare. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell warned the Obama administration will be unable to cover the millions of Americans who could lose their medical insurance if the Supreme Court decides to unravel much of the Affordable Care Act.

“We don’t believe there is an administration solution that would undo all of that damage,” Burwell said about the looming Supreme Court ruling in an exclusive interview with CNN. (Read more here.)

But we must remind people – the law was shoved down our throats as Democrats alone voted it into law and signed by Obama. Now we are finding out that it is much worse than we knew – it appears our friend; Jonathan Gruber, he of the “stupid” statements and “smug filled rooms” was much more integral in the design of ObamaCare from the beginning.

Please remind all you speak with of this fact as the left blames the right for people losing their subsidies and not being able to afford what was supposed to be less expensive – remember the full name of the law; the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – PPACA.

Controversial MIT economist Jonathan Gruber reportedly played key role in ObamaCare law

By xxx – Fox News

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who claimed the authors of ObamaCare took advantage of what he called the “stupidity of the American voter,” played a much bigger role in the law’s drafting than previously acknowledged, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing 20,000 pages of emails sent by Gruber between January 2009 and March 2010, reported Sunday that Gruber was frequently consulted by staffers and advisers for both the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about the Affordable Care Act.Gruber Gate

Among the topics that Gruber discusses in the emails are media interviews, consultations with lawmakers, and even how to publicly describe his role.

The emails were released as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legality of federal health insurance exchange subsidies.

The Journal reports that the officials Gruber contacted by e-mail included Peter Orszag, then the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); Jason Furman, an economic adviser to the president; and Ezekiel Emanuel, then a special adviser for health policy at OMB.

“His proximity to HHS and the White House was a whole lot tighter than they admitted,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R- Utah, chairman of the House oversight committee, told the Journal. “There’s no doubt he was a much more integral part of this than they’ve said. He put up this facade he was an arm’s length away. It was a farce.”

States to be affected by the King v. Burwell case (Courtesy of KFF.org)
States to be affected by the King v. Burwell case (Courtesy of KFF.org)

“As has been previously reported, Mr. Gruber was a widely used economic modeler for administrations and state governments run by both parties—both before and after the Affordable Care Act was passed,” HHS spokeswoman Meaghan Smith told the Journal in a statement. “These emails only echo old news.”

Gruber became the center of a political storm in November 2014, when a video surfaced of him taking part in a 2013 panel discussion about ObamaCare. At one point, Gruber said the Obama administration wrote the bill “in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes.

pol_obamacare32__01__630x420If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies … 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.”

At the time of the controversy, President Obama referred to Gruber as “some adviser who never worked on our staff.” However, the Journal reports that Gruber’s emails appear to reference at least one meeting with Obama.

Furthermore, one email from Jeanne Lambrew, a top Obama health adviser, thanks Gruber for “being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment”, while another message from Lambrew refers to Gruber as “our hero.”

Fox News previously reported that HHS retained Gruber in March 2009 on a $95,000 contract to produce “a series of technical memoranda on the estimated changes in health insurance coverage and associated costs and impacts to the government under alternative specifications of health system reform.” A second contract with HHS three months later saw Gruber receive an additional $297,600.

Gruber later apologized for his comments in a December 2014 hearing before the House Oversight Committee, calling the remarks “mean and insulting.”

Civil Servants – Served Like 'Members Only' Club

Editor’s Note – Picking winners and losers, coddling the ruling elite and the ‘Members Only’ class, the Obama administration has proven that ‘let them eat cake’ is not just reserved for Marie Antoinette, it’s exactly how his administration has been operating throughout his presidency.

The government is designed, through the Constitution, to serve America, hence the term civil servant. Yet, under this regime and that of both Houses of Congress, we continue to be treated as second class; an under class now serving those inside the beltway.eatcake

The proof is in starkly relief once again, Obama cut a deal with lawmakers and their staff to fund a huge chunk of their Obamacare mandate expenses, before Congress went into its annual August recess. Again, we see selective application of the law as waivers are granted and only certain segments of the law are to be enforced as written into the law.

Without so much as a whimper, voters, especially low information voters, along with the sycophants in the Main Stream Media are giving the Obama regime a pass once again.

Members Only – How the White House is weaseling Congress out of Obama Care

By The Wall Street Journal

The White House on Wednesday released the legal details behind its Obama Care bailout for Members of Congress and their staffs, and if anything this rescue is worse than last week’s leaks suggested: Illegal dispensations for the ruling class, different rules for the hoi polloi.

Thanks to an amendment from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley that Democrats enacted in 2010, the Affordable Care Act says that “the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available” to Congress are the ones offered on the Obama Care insurance exchanges. But Members and many aides have been flipping out because they won’t qualify for Obama Care subsidies and they’ll lose employer contributions they now receive under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, or FEHBP, which picks up about three-quarters of the average premium.

At President Obama’s personal request, the Office of Personnel Management decreed that the Members don’t have to get off the gravy train after all. The eat-your-own-cooking provision begins with the phrase “Notwithstanding any other provision of law.” The feds now interpret that clause as a loophole to mean that the Affordable Care Act did not change the 1959 law that created the FEHBP.

hypocrisySince Members and staff still technically meet the definition of federal employees qualified for the FEHBP, the Administration says they’re still entitled to enroll in the FEHBP concurrently with the exchanges. The feds then “clarify”—their euphemism—that the regulatory meaning of health benefits in the FEHBP can be Obama Care plans. Voila, taxpayers will continue to chip in $4,900 for individual and $10,000 for family coverage.

The charitable term for such legal gymnastics is creative. When statutes conflict, the bedrock administrative law obligation is to enforce the most recent statute. “Notwithstanding” clauses are routine catchalls that are supposed to emphasize Congress’s intent that a new bill is controlling and pre-empts other laws on the books.

The White House is claiming the clause means the opposite, as if the 2010 law and the 1959 law have nothing to do with each other. That is not how it is supposed to work. When Congress kicked itself out of the traditional FEHBP, it kicked itself out of the FEHBP.

At least the Members will still have to sign up for exchange coverage as the law requires. Given the lawless White House record, it probably considered finding some excuse to exempt Congress entirely and decided that option was too explosive politically. But creating a special financing stream for the political class is almost as much of an abuse.

Obama Care’s complex subsidy system, with varying levels based on income, is not incidental to the exchanges. It’s the beating heart of this exercise in wealth redistribution and social and economic central planning. The entitlement’s architects never envisioned that well-to-do movers and shakers—Mr. Obama might even call some of them “the rich”—would get (or deserve) taxpayer benefits merely because they happen to run for or work for Congress.

Millionaire Senators and the affluent professionals who are chiefs of staff, legislative directors and the like were supposed to go on the exchange and abide by its rules. There are only three insurers offering public utility-type plans on the Washington, D.C. Obama Care exchange. The FEHBP sponsors 21 plans in metro D.C. and 24 in Virginia. Perhaps as a new perquisite the White House will entice a plan to the exchange that only Members can choose.

It would have been fairer and less corrosive to the rule of law had Congress simply passed a bill giving their workers a raise to make up for the lost compensation of dropping out of the FEHBP. But that would mean an ugly political fight that voters might notice. It’s so much easier to slip through this political fix in August when Congress is out of session and the press corps can’t wait to hit the beach.