By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor
The controversy surrounding Obamacare just keeps swirling. I watched part of Tuesday’s hearing conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, during which MIT Prof. Jonathan Gruber was called in to discuss recent comments he made concerning Obamacare.
In recently surfaced videos, Gruber alluded that Obamacare was passed, in large part, due to the stupidity of the American people and their lack of understanding of how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be funded. He said they counted on the fact that many Americans do not understand economics, which was helpful in pushing the ACA to passage.
Touting the transparency about the model he put together in developing Obamacare, Gruber’s “stupid” statements about how the law got passed are coming back to haunt him and the administration. Despite statements on one of the videos where Gruber said lack of transparency helped get Obamacare passed, he reversed himself Tuesday, saying they have been transparent all along about the ACA model.
There were even times during the hearing when Gruber said he didn’t recall making those statements, even though they had just played one of the videos in which he did right there in the hearing room.
The hearing comes at a time when people are getting their insurance notices on what rates they’ll be paying next year for insurance. They’re having to decide whether to stick with the policies they have or switch. If they do decide to switch, it’s a good bet it’s because their current policy is going to cost more.
Many who have been paying for health insurance all along will be seeing higher rates in 2015. What happened to the promise that Obamacare would save the typical family $2,000 per year? Somehow, that got lost in the transparency.
According to Congressman Adrian Smith’s office, new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) shows premiums for the lowest-priced plans in Nebraska’s federally-operated Obamacare exchange will increase in every county. Chase County’s average increase will be 17.1 percent. Small business owners across our state and country are also dealing with increases for their employees, too.
All of the misleading statements regarding Obamacare are having real consequences on the American people. Sure, it’s great so many are now insured when they weren’t before. But many of us are paying more and getting less coverage even after we have been paying for insurance all along and not relying on the government or someone else to take care of our bills when we became sick or hospitalized.
The administration and the architects of Obamacare like Gruber never were up front about the ACA. If they had been, it would have never passed.
Even Democrats on the committee at Tuesdays’ hearing chided Gruber for his comments. Rep. Elijah Cummings of New York, the Democratic ranking member of the committee, said he was offended by the comments, saying they provided critics of the ACA “a P.R. gift” that further damaged an already troubled piece of legislation.
Many Americans didn’t have to hear comments from Gruber to know a true lack of clear explanations was how the administration and Democrats were able to get the law passed. It was misleading and far less than transparent.
We really aren’t that stupid to see that.