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Phyllis Schlafly
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Grubergate Should Spark Hearings by Congress

Comment

"Grubergate" is the name for the embarrassing revelations about Obamacare by its chief architect, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) predicted that the House Oversight Committee will hold hearings on this issue, so the public can learn the facts underlying this legislative failure.

Professor Gruber is not the only one who should be called to testify on Capitol Hill to tell the truth behind Obamacare. Obama himself was reportedly personally involved in key meetings about what would be necessary to exploit what Professor Gruber called "the lack of economic understanding of the American voter."

When Obamacare was railroaded through Congress without a single Republican vote in 2010, Democrats enjoyed an overwhelming majority. Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described Professor Gruber as "one of the most respected economists in the world."

Four years later, Obamacare is on life support and Republicans have their largest majority in the House in more than 60 years. Even the commanding Republican majority elected to the House in 1946, which passed the 22nd Amendment to establish term limits for the president along with other landmark bills, was barely as large as the one elected earlier this month, thanks to continued public opposition to Obamacare.

The recently publicized admissions by Professor Gruber, who once admitted that he "helped write the federal bill" (Obamacare) while he "was a paid consultant to the Obama administration to help develop the technical details of the bill," concede that a "lack of transparency" was essential to getting the law passed in 2010. Gruber said Americans are "too stupid to understand," and he even created a comic book to promote Obamacare to the American people.

Professor Gruber admitted that the "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 ... "

Because he'd "rather have this law than not," Gruber admitted that Obamacare "was written in a tortured way to make sure the (Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes." He added, "If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies."

Another revelation by Professor Gruber that is good fodder for Congressional hearings is his admission two years ago that the Obamacare subsidies were an incentive for states to set up health insurance exchanges.

He said then, "I think what's important to remember politically about this is, if you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits," also known as subsidies, and he hoped "that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges, and that they'll do it."

Nevertheless, 36 states declined to set up Obamacare exchanges, but the Obama administration began providing the subsidies anyway in those states. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging the legality of those subsidies. (King v. Burwell)

In a January 2012 video, Professor Gruber explained that Romneycare in Massachusetts, on which Obamacare was modeled, was based on a "dirty secret" that "the feds pay for our bill." Gruber disclosed that "in Massachusetts, we had a very powerful senator you may know named Ted Kennedy. Ted Kennedy ... and smart people in Massachusetts had basically figured out a way to sort of rip off the feds for about $400 million a year."

The governor of Massachusetts at the time was none other than Mitt Romney. The result of his Romneycare has been a massive increase in waiting times to see a doctor; delays in Boston have grown to a 66-day average wait to see a family physician and a 72-day average delay to see a dermatologist.

Boston has more doctors per patient than almost any other metropolitan area in the nation, so its waiting times should be among the lowest in the nation. But in fact, Romneycare has caused enormous delays and failed to deliver the promised reductions in health insurance premiums.

Massachusetts has also failed to establish a successful health insurance exchange, which is called the Massachusetts Health Connector. Professor Gruber himself has been a board member on the Connector, which had to rebuild its website after a year of problems.

A few days ago, Gruber admitted to failures of the Connector, declaring that "We didn't do a great job last year" on this Massachusetts health insurance exchange. But he begged for a second chance to try again.

Instead, how about giving a second chance for Congress to vote on whether Obamacare is the right direction for our country? It makes sense to give a second chance to the people footing the bill, the American taxpayers, in order to escape this mess of Obamacare.

Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 20 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of the New York Times Best-Seller titled "No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom." She can be contacted by e-mail at phyllis@eagleforum.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com.

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