Gruber visited Obama’s office as the Democratic Party’s “most influential health-care expert”
MIT professor Jonathan Gruber served as the key health care consultant to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and even visited Obama’s office to sell the idea of the “individual mandate,” which Obama later championed, according to a 2007 news article.
Gruber, who said Obamacare passed due to the “stupidity of the American voters” and their “lack of economic understanding,” was described by the Washington Post as the Democratic Party’s “most influential health-care expert” who “consulted with the three leading Democratic campaigns about their health plans,” including Barack Obama’s.
He pressured the Obama campaign to support the “individual mandate” he helped developed for Massachusetts’ state-run health care, which forced people to buy insurance or face a penalty.
“Gruber championed this idea in Massachusetts, and … he did the same in Obama’s office, on the phone with [John] Edwards and in conversations with Chris Jennings, Hillary Clinton’s health policy guru,” reporter Perry Bacon Jr. wrote, adding that Gruber had to warm up the Obama campaign to the idea of the mandate.
He told Obama’s advisers that a mandate was necessary.
“[Gruber] said that without (sic) the mandate, Obama’s plan would shrink the number of uninsured from 15 percent to 6 percent,” Bacon reported. “Obama’s aides said that they think they could achieve universal care without a mandate, but that they would add one if they did not.”
Yet Obama has been attempting to downplay Gruber’s role in Obamacare over the past week after Gruber was caught on video displaying his disdain for American voters.
The president even claimed that Gruber was “some adviser who never worked on our staff,” but it’s quite obvious that Gruber had undue influence in shaping not only Obamacare but also Obama’s overall health care policies.
Obama even admitted this in 2006 when he mentioned Gruber as one of the “brightest minds from academia and policy circles” he had “stolen ideas from liberally.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also made reference to Gruber repeatedly while campaigning for Obamacare in late 2009, but last week she tried to claim she didn’t know who he was in the aftermath of the Gruber videos.
Steven Rattner, a former Obama administration adviser, told MSNBC host Joe Scarborough that Gruber was “the guru on health care” and that he “was certainly viewed as an important figure in helping to put Obamacare together.”
“I think if you go back and look at the Washington Post or the New York Times or anything from that period, you will find Jonathan Gruber’s name all over it, as both someone who’s the leading expert on health care quoted by everybody, and as someone who the White House was using,” Rattner said.
And the Washington Post’s 2007 article proves Rattner right.
By Brian Hughes
The aftermath of the November midterms has showcased just how President Obama plans to deal with Republicans in his final two years: He’s going down swinging.
In the week since the electoral drubbing, Obama has renewed fights with Republicans over climate change, immigration reform and nuclear negotiations with Iran, in addition to picking a new battle with the GOP over net neutrality.
In what some predicted would be a quiet close to 2014, Obama is not waiting to enact his agenda, almost inviting conservative scorn of his aggressive approach to wielding the levers of executive power.
Obama late Tuesday announced a new commitment to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 2025 between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels, part of a landmark deal struck with China, which also left conservatives fuming.
“What you’re seeing is a president who wants to get big things done,” a senior administration official told the Washington Examiner. “You can label it what you want. But he is responding to a clear need for action in Washington.”
Republicans, however, would argue that the president is misreading the message from the 2014 elections. They say the GOP was awarded the Senate, in part, because voters were weary of the president’s growing reliance on unilateral action.
Their claims are supported by a new Gallup poll that found 53 percent wanted the Republican Congress to have more influence in the governing direction next year, compared to 36 percent for the president.
Obama is even finding a way to anger Republicans while he’s thousands of miles away on a trip to Asia and Australia.
And it wasn’t just the climate deal, which conservatives consider a jobs killer.
During a stretch that was supposed to be devoted to foreign affairs and building momentum for trade deals, Obama decided to wade into the conflict over net neutrality. After months of insisting that the Federal Communications Commission was an independent agency, the president outlined a wish list for new rules that would treat the Internet like a utility and usher in government regulations to address what he views as market inefficiencies.
The White House said that the timing of Obama’s announcement was related to the FCC’s review process, not a political calculation. But Republicans didn’t see it that way.
“Has anyone informed the president there was an election last Tuesday and he got a shellacking?” asked Republican strategist Patrick Griffin. “To say he hasn’t been conciliatory would be an understatement. This president continues to astound me. It’s a combination of hubris and existence in a parallel universe.”
The president and his advisers contend that Republicans are getting worked up about process, and that the public will ultimately award Obama for trying to break through chronic Washington gridlock.
That theory guides the president’s decision to move ahead with executive action on immigration reform, despite resistance from Republicans who say it would poison the prospect of bipartisan negotiations in 2015.
And Republicans suggest that the president is also looking to 2016, when conservatives must defend their accomplishments in a GOP Congress.
“If we’re not careful, we could allow Hillary Clinton to waltz towards the White House,” Griffin said of Republicans adopting a purely blame-Obama attitude. “I think Obama believes Republicans have more to lose than he does.”
And on Iran, the president is looking to finalize a nuclear deal that critics say would undermine sanctions passed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike.
The brouhaha over the talks comes as Russia announced plans Tuesday to construct eight new nuclear reactors in Iran, raising doubts about the state of negotiations between U.S. and Iranian leaders — and Russia’s role in the process before the Nov. 24 deadline.
Yet, Obama presses forward, even over the objections of many in his own party.
For a president mired in a series of conflicts overseas, a breakthrough with Iran would him the big-ticket item on foreign affairs that second-term presidents so often seek.
“If we do have a deal that I have confidence will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and that we can convince the world and the public will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, then it will be time to engage in Congress,” Obama said at a post-election press conference, hardly emboldening lawmakers who felt sidelined.
Yet, Obama’s inner circle says the president won’t put much credence in Republican pleas for compromise, given what they view as a lack of cooperation from conservative lawmakers since the president took office.
“It’s like they’re asking us to ignore the last six years,” complained the senior administration official. “By now, it’s pretty clear how they do things. You have to operate within that reality.”