Much attention has been paid to President Obama’s disowning of ObamaCare’s designer and architect, Jonathan Gruber, who, on numerous occasions, called Americans “stupid” and openly bragged about the number of ways in which he worked closely with the Obama administration to mislead and deceive the public about ObamaCare in order to get it passed.
The president referred to Gruber a couple days ago as just “some adviser who was never on our staff.” Video then surfaced of Obama mentioning Gruber by name in 2006 as one of the “brightest minds … I have stolen ideas from liberally.” Ultimately, the Obama administration and state governments paid Gruber nearly 6 million dollars to help write and sell ObamaCare and consult on health care.
When asked this week by a reporter if Gruber was correct in saying that President Obama misled Americans about ObamaCare, the president piled another untruth on top of untruths, saying, “No, I did not.” This is the same president who promised at least 36 times that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it, even though – according to NBC News – he knew that was not true. In 2009, the Associated Press reported that “White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally.” In 2010, the president admitted on camera that eight to nine million Americans “might have to change their coverage.”
President Obama also said premiums would fall by 3,000 percent, allowing employers to give raises. He said patients could keep their doctors. He said the individual mandate was not a tax. He said ObamaCare wouldn’t add to the deficit. He said it wouldn’t fund abortions. He said it wouldn’t benefit illegal immigrants. And on and on.
But insisting these misleading claims never crossed his lips wasn’t enough this week. President Obama also issued a challenge: “I would just advise every press outlet here, go back and pull up every clip, every story, and I think it's fair to say there was not a provision in the health care law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent.”
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: the two-year delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate was not part of the law and it was not “extensively debated” – it was unilaterally created by the White House. The provision making subsidies available through federal exchanges – the legality of which the Supreme Court will decide – was not part of the law and it was not “extensively debated.” It was unilaterally created by the Obama IRS, a fact confirmed by Gruber’s past statements about the very intentional decision to deny subsidies to states that do not establish their own exchanges.
Second, let’s go back and pull all those clips and stories celebrating the transparency of ObamaCare:
- “Obama promised televised negotiations for the health care law, but that didn’t happen. Instead, his administration reached agreements behind closed doors with the drug industry and hospitals. In Congress, some of the committee bill writing sessions were open, but the most substantial negotiations took place privately, before bills came to committee or the House or Senate floor. We rated this Promise Broken.” (PolitiFact, 10/2/13)
- “Throughout this year's negotiations, however, the big deals have been struck in secret. With tax increases and limits on what's covered among the possible ways of offsetting perhaps $1 trillion over a decade in expenses, neither the administration nor [the Democratic] Congress is willing to give up its right to do the most sensitive talking in private[.]” (McClatchy, 7/9/09)
- “In cutting deals with hospitals and drug makers, President Barack Obama is giving a private inside track to special interests that's at odds with his promise to make policy in the open.” (Associated Press, 7/21/09)
- “Behind the scenes, however, Mr. Obama and his advisers have been quite active, sometimes negotiating deals with a degree of cold-eyed political realism potentially at odds with the president’s rhetoric. … Hospital industry lobbyists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House, say they negotiated their $155 billion in concessions with Mr. Baucus and the administration in tandem.” (The New York Times, 8/13/09)
- “President Obama's top aides met frequently with lobbyists and health care industry heavyweights as his administration pieced together a national health care overhaul, according to White House visitor records …. The records do not identify the visitors' employers, say on whose behalf they were there or give any specifics of what was discussed.” (Associated Press, 11/25/09)
- “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has set the stage for a major vote Monday morning at 1:00 AM …. That would … set up a late-night Christmas Eve vote on final passage. … [T]hey will have had less than 38 hours to understand a 383-page amendment that introduces several new concepts into the health care debate.” (The Daily Signal, 12/19/09)
- “Looks like the Dem leadership’s plan to quickly pass health care reform by skipping House-Senate conference negotiations has further alienated House liberals …. A top House progressive … [is] claiming it will make it even tougher to improve the bill and slamming it for stifling real debate. … Rep Raul Grijalva, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, criticized the scheme and complained he hadn’t even been consulted yet: ‘...I and other progressives saw a conference as a means to improve the bill and have a real debate, and now with this behind-the-scenes approach, we’re concerned even more.’” (The Plum Line, 1/4/10)
- “MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the leading academic defenders of health care reform, is taking heat for failing to disclose consistently that he was under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services while he was touting the Democrats' health proposals in the media.” (Fox News, 1/8/10)
- “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” (Nancy Pelosi, 3/9/10)
- “[T]he Caribou Coffee across the street from the White House has become a favorite meeting spot to conduct Obama administration business. … White House officials have met hundreds of times over the last 18 months with prominent K Street lobbyists …. [to discuss] front-burner issues like Wall Street regulation, health care rules, federal stimulus money, energy policy and climate control …. But because the discussions are not taking place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, they are not subject to disclosure on the visitors’ log that the White House releases[.]” (The New York Times, 6/24/10)
- “President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds — and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident. It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view — and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public.” (Politico, 2/24/11)
- “Republican congressional investigators got the brush-off this past week after pressing for details of meetings between White House officials and interest groups, including drug companies and hospitals that provided critical backing for Obama’s health insurance expansion.” (Associated Press, 3/12/11)
- “[T]he [White House visitor] logs are missing the names of thousands of other visitors to the White House, including lobbyists, government employees, campaign donors, policy experts and friends of the first family, according to an investigation[.]” (Center for Public Integrity, 4/13/11)
- “Eager to dismantle barriers to the legislation’s passage, Rahm Emanuel and Jim Messina, a deputy chief of staff, had cut a quiet deal with pharmaceutical industry lobbyists[.]” (The Obamas by Jodi Kantor, 1/10/12)
- “Secrecy shrouds President Obama's $2 billion program to launch 24 new co-ops designed to compete with private insurance companies under the chief executive's landmark health care reform.” (Washington Examiner, 2/5/13)
- “The head of the agency responsible for overseeing the troubled HealthCare.gov repeatedly refused to disclose how many people have enrolled in ObamaCare -- during a hearing where she did not deny that officials have that information.” (Fox News, 10/29/13)
The American people can see right through “the most transparent administration in history,” and House Republicans have led the effort to demand true transparency in ObamaCare. President Obama, on the other hand, is still set on misleading.