It's surprising to me that some year-old videotapes where MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber blathers on about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, Obamacare) was written -- and why -- continue to percolate on the web. It is not surprising that I have not seen this story anywhere on the left-wing broadcast networks and I believe a short mention on Friday November 14 is the first appearance in the Boston Globe--again not surprising.
But no one is getting to the substance of the deception although the first hint of it is showing up on Daily Caller.
The major Gruber deception is built around what he did for and later told lies about relative RomneyCare in order to justify and support PPACA. As with PPACA, Gruber claims to be an architect of Romeycare. But Romney threw Gruber under the bus in 2011/2012 for much the same reason that all the Democrats are throwing him there this week. What he really did here in Massachusetts is run some what-if scenarios to help the state of Massachusetts justify the revised Medicaid waiver we got from George Bush in 2006 that was basically supposed to pay for RomneyCare. (We thank all the rest of you suckers around the country for keeping the Medicaid gravy train flowing to Massachusetts. We just got another $20 billion from you in a new Medicaid wavier last week.)
The 1998 Kennedy idea and 2006 Romney idea - not Gruber's -- was that Massachusetts would take the Medicaid money we always got on average and combine it with the "free care pool" money we always raised through healthcare-insurance/hospital-service taxes to pay for the uninsured and use the combination to buy everyone insurance (it's the latter part of that idea that makes RomneyCare like Obamacare). Gruber1 ran that scenario through a model to figure out how many people could get the free insurance IF the insurance did X and how
many more if the insurance only did Y... etc.
What was promised was all the same things promised by Obamacare. What was delivered? It didn't "work in Massachusetts:
- Both healthcare prices and premiums continued to skyrocket (don't be confused by Gruber lies that premiums went down 40%; that was a total fabrication from an AHIP study that said in big bold letters: don't compare year 1 to year 2)
- Statistically speaking the percent of uninsured did not change much.
- ER usage and MD "wait times" (times to get a first appointment with a new doctor) were up; more doctors refused to accept the RomneyCare insurance than refused to take Medicaid
- The take up rate of employer sponsored insurance was way down (don't be confused by Gruber lies that said that more employers offered insurance; they only offered it to full time workers--sound familair).
- Hospitals have been closed from Quincy to North Adams (from the ocean to the NY state line if you don't know Massachusetts)
- The list of things that did not work is so long I can't fit it all on this list but somehow Gruber's vaunted econometric model missed all these unintended consequences.
All of these problems were already known when Obamacare was debated in 2009/2010 and was well established by the time of the 2012 election. But the Republicans could not say anything because that would make Romney (rightly) look bad.
The problems became so bad that the legislature tried to fix Romney's/Gruber's 2006 mess in 2008 and twice in 2010 and finally in 2012 effectively repealed it and put in old fashioned Soviet-era price controls (which are also doomed to fail just as they did whenGov. Dukakis tried them in 1988). RomneyCare was repealed at just about the same time Gruber was going around the country saying it was the greatest thing since sliced bread and everyone else in the United States should have some... with butter and sugar.
1Gruber was then appointed to the Massachusetts Connector Authority that gave away this free insurance to about 3% of the state population from 2007 to 2013. There were just three flavors of insurance and people had to manually apply for MassHealth/Medicaid, first get turned down but qualify for RomneyCare, and then go on a very simple DMV-like website and choose one of the three. Despite Gruber's claim, this simplistic web site was not an exchange and is nothing like healthcare.gov. When the Connector Authority later tried to implement a healthcare.gov-like website in late 2013/early 2014 after the effective repeal of RomneyCare, the Connector technology totally failed and everyone was given Medicaid. Gruber said he didn't pay enough attention during Authority meetings to see this disaster happening.