It isn't the first time on Capitol Hill that a paid hack starts signing a different tune once the money dries up, but this might be one for the record books given the magnitude of the case. Jonathan Gruber became a very familiar name around Congress and in the media as one of the primary defenders of ObamaCare in 2009 and early 2010. The White House trotted him out often as a supposed unbiased, independent expert with major league credentials to make the case for Obama's signature piece of legislation. The fact that he was paid $400,000 for his opinions was well hidden, and now that the money has dried up, the MIT economist is travelling the country and telling a very different tale about the real impact of ObamaCare.
Gruber consistently spewed the Administration's company-line that ObamaCare would reduce health care insurance premiums. For example, on November 29, 2009 the White House Blog attributed the following statement to Gruber:
"Analysis of the non-partisan information from the CBO suggest that for those facing purchase in the non-group market, the House bill will deliver savings ranging from $200 for singles to $500 for families in today's dollars – even without subsides. The savings are much larger for lower income populations that receive premium credits (subsidies)." (emphasis added.)
The White House blog post was written by Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Director of Obama's Office of Health Care Reform at the time – the Salesman-in-Chief for ObamaCare. DeParle trumpets the "compelling new report" (which in reality is just a two page memo of text and two graphs) that apparently led to Gruber's conclusion. She also cites a Politico.com feature that obviously was hand fed by the White House with the headline, "MIT analysis backs Obama." The article claims Gruber's report is "new ammunition for Democrats" and proof that "Americans would pay less" for health insurance under ObamaCare.
Bob Beauprez is a former Member of Congress and is currently the editor-in-chief of A Line of Sight, an online policy resource. Prior to serving in Congress, Mr. Beauprez was a dairy farmer and community banker. He and his wife Claudia reside in Lafayette, Colorado. You may contact him at: http://bobbeauprez.com/contact/