Flashback: Who was right in 2007? Ezekiel ‘Doctor Death’ Emanuel or Jonathan Gruber?

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to former Obama Chief of Staff and adviser and Chicago’s current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was labeled “Doctor Death” based on his connections with the Obama administration and so-called “death panels” hidden in the Obamacare law.

In August 2009, Salon came to Emanuel’s defense, claiming

Ezekiel Emanuel, who’s currently advising the administration on healthcare reform through a post at the White House Office of Management and Budget, is actually one of the country’s leading medical ethicists, a forceful defender of people approaching the end of their life. Indeed, he opposes even voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

The irony in this comes from the more recent claim last month by Emanuel himself that he hoped to die at 75.

This paints an interesting background for the fact that, in July 2007, MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, also identified as a health care adviser for Obama and his repugnant health care law, duked it out in a debate with Ezekiel Emanuel.

The occasion was a conference call. John Edwards was reportedly in search of a health care campaign adviser and the two “experts” vied for the position.

The Washington Post reported:

On one side was Ezekiel Emanuel, a doctor and bioethics expert and the brother of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), arguing that the American health-care system is so riddled with inefficiencies that it needs to be blown up and replaced by a plan in which people can buy coverage themselves with a voucher.

On the other side was an economist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has become possibly the party’s most influential health-care expert and a voice of realism in its internal debates. . . .

[Gruber said] that whatever the merits of Emanuel’s idea, it just would not be politically viable. Instead, Gruber argued for a more incremental approach, like the one in Massachusetts he helped write. Its central elements would be providing subsidies to people who are unable to pay for health care, increasing the number of those who are enrolled in public programs such as Medicaid and creating a public agency to help anyone ineligible for the programs buy health insurance. . . . .

“Plans which minimize the disruption to the existing system are more likely to succeed than plans that rip up the existing system and start over,” said Gruber, who has consulted with the three leading Democratic campaigns about their health plans. “It doesn’t take a genius to see that. That’s not to say that plans ripping it up wouldn’t be better — I just think they’re political non- starters.”

Edwards chose Gruber and he, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama all drew from Gruber’s plan, especially his insistence on the mandate.

Given the outcome of Obamacare, perhaps Emanuel had the better idea.







SCHIP: Gruber helped peddle ‘socialized medicine on the installment plan’

In September 2007, David Hogberg, of the National Center for Public Policy Research, stated that the expansion of SCHIP amounted to “socialized medicine on the installment plan”.

Hogberg wrote:

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created by Congress and President Bill Clinton as part of Balanced Budget Act of 1997. SCHIP was intended to give $24 billion in federal matching funds over ten years to state governments for the provision of health insurance to about 5 million uninsured children. Eligibility was supposed to be restricted to children whose parents earned too much to qualify for Medicaid, but less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Like most government programs, SCHIP soon exceeded its intent. By 2006, about 6.9 million children received insurance benefits through SCHIP. From 1997-2006, the federal government provided over $40 billion in matching funds. Many of the children now on SCHIP were not previously uninsured, but had private coverage which their parents dropped, a phenomenon known as “crowd out.” Furthermore, seven states have set eligibility standards above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and four of those have set it at 300 percent or above. They were able to do this because the original SCHIP statute never set a specific poverty level for eligibility. Rather, it stated that the program was supposed to be for “targeted low-income children,” which the Department of Health and Human Services initially interpreted as 200 percent of the poverty level.4

Now a majority in Congress wants to codify into law this violation of SCHIP intent. Both the House and Senate have passed bills that would enable families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify for SCHIP benefits. This would have two major effects. First, it will dramatically worsen the problem of “crowd out.” Second, it would make a program that is unfair into one that is regressive.

Hogberg concluded:

But fairness has never been the primary concern of the political left on health care. The primary concern has been achieving a universal, government-run system. Providing near universal coverage for children, and funding it via cigarette taxes, is a big step toward achieving that goal. “Children” are an effective propaganda tool. Anyone who opposes providing coverage for children can be attacked as heartless and cruel. Cigarette taxes are one of the few types of taxes that the public will not oppose. Indeed, anyone who opposes cigarette taxes can be attacked as being “pro tobacco.” The thinking of the political left seems to be that if government covers enough children of enough people high up the income ladder, then eventually enough of the public will be supportive of extending such government insurance to everyone. Call it “socialized medicine on the installment plan.”

Given how poorly universal, government-run health care systems work in many other nations, such a system is not the route the United States should travel. Thus, we should not allow SCHIP to be used as a stepping stone toward such a system. SCHIP should be returned to its original purpose of covering only children in families making no more than 200 percent of the poverty level.

And Gruber’s role in this? The Joyce Foundation- and George Soros-funded Center on Budget and Policy Priorities stated in June 2007: (emphasis added)

A related issue involves what is known as “crowd out.” Those who push to convert SCHIP into a program that subsidizes individuals to purchase coverage in the private insurance market, with few standards or protections, argue that SCHIP is substituting for employer-based coverage. They cite a recent Congressional Budget Office study which estimated that 25 percent to 50 percent of children covered through SCHIP would otherwise have some form of private coverage, and say this demonstrates the need to overhaul SCHIP as they propose.

This criticism, as well, poses a false choice, as it overlooks the fact that under the fragmented U.S. health insurance system, virtually any effort to use government funds to help cover the uninsured will result in some substitution of one type of health-care coverage for another. This is a basic point CBO made when issuing its study. The real choice for Congress is what types of coverage expansions are more efficient and effective than others. And on this front, SCHIP scores well. Analysis by Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T. — a leading health economist who has conducted a good part of the work on SCHIP crowd-out on which the CBO analysis rests.

Looks like the apparently mindless CBO rests a lot of its conclusions on Gruber’s work.

Sen. Reid cites Gruber: Bush lost credibility on health care in 2006

Warning: Bush Derangement Syndrome ahead.

In February 2006, Sen. “Dirty Harry” Reid cited MIT economist Jonathan Gruber in his attack on President George W. Bush’s Health Savings Accounts plan:

As President Bush travels to Ohio today to promote his misguided Health Savings Accounts, a new study released by MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber shows that HSAs will increase the number of uninsured by 600,000 Americans. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement on the president’s loss of credibility on health care:

“It’s simply not credible for the president to say he’s serious about addressing the health care crisis when you look at his record and his policies. After designing a prescription drug plan that favors HMOs and drug companies over seniors and then botching its implementation, the president is now threatening seniors’ access to care with his budget cuts to Medicare. Democrats have offered a prescription for change to fix the Medicare drug bill; the president has ignored the problem.

“The president’s most recent recycled health care idea will make the health care crisis worse. His plans for Health Savings Accounts will increase the number of uninsured Americans, make health care more expensive for millions of Americans and do nothing to help the over 46 million Americans who don’t have health care coverage today. It’s just not credible to call it a solution. Democrats know that together, America can do better to cut health care costs and increase access to quality health care for all Americans.”

If I didn’t know better, I’d have to come to the conclusion Gruber was talking about Obamacare.

You can read Gruber’s full report at the Joyce Foundation and George Soros-funded (among others) leftwing Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

FireDogLake.com pegged the Obama-Gruber deception in 2009

This is one of those times that everyone should have paid better attention to words of wisdom coming from the “Left”. Thinking only inside one’s political box is a very bad idea.

In March 2010, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake.com fame posted “How the White House Used Gruber’s Work to Create Appearance of Broad Consensus” on none other than the Huffington Post, in which she timelined the Obama-Gruber lying lies re Obamacare.

Hamsher wrote about the Obama administration’s manufactured “feedback loop”:

Up until this point, most of the attention regarding the failure to disclose the connection between Jonathan Gruber and the White House has fallen on Gruber himself. Far more troubling, however, is the lack of disclosure on the part of the White House, the Senate, the DNC and other Democratic leaders who distributed Gruber’s work and cited it as independent validation of their proposals, orchestrating the appearance of broad consensus when in fact it was all part of the same effort.

The White House is placing a giant collective bet on Gruber’s “assumptions” to justify key portions of the Senate bill such as the “Cadillac tax,” which they allowed people to believe was independent verification. Now that we know that Gruber’s work was not that of an independent analyst but rather work performed as a contractor to the White House and paid for by taxpayers, and economists like Larry Mishel are raising serious questions about its validity, it should be made publicly available so others can judge its merits.

Gruber began negotiating a sole-source contract with the Department of Health and Human Services in February of 2009, for which he was ultimately paid $392,600. The contract called for Gruber to use his statistical model for evaluating alternatives “derived from the President’s health reform proposal.” It was not a research grant, but rather a consulting contract to advise the White House Office of Health Reform, headed by Obama’s health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, to “develop proposals” for health care reform.

Read the rest of Hamsher’s fine analysis here.

The Washington Times noted that FireDogLake.com was among liberals who were “appalled” by the Obama administration’s deception:

It wasn’t the Tea Partiers and conservative radio hosts who had the harshest things to say about Obamacare. Left-wing bloggers offered some of the sharpest attacks – and some of them made lots of sense.

From the beginning of the debate [in 2009], Jane Hamsher of the influential blog Firedoglake insisted that no reform without a public option would be acceptable. Her fetish for a public option was misguided, but some of her reasoning was solid.

The day after the bill passed, for instance, Ms. Hamsher wrote: “This bill fundamentally shifts the relationships of governance in order to achieve its objectives. .. We have empowered another quasi-governmental, ‘too big to fail’ industry with alarming nonchalance.” . . .

The claims made by the administration about the virtues of the health care bill are outright fabrications. As Marcy Wheeler has documented in her post entitled ‘Health Care and the Road to Neofeudalism,’ it does not control either insurance premiums or health care costs. Forcing 31 million people to buy a product they don’t want and can’t afford to use does not constitute health care reform.

She’s right, of course. The individual mandate that forces every American to purchase health insurance is an assault on liberty and clearly unconstitutional. It must be repealed [the Times wrote].

From liberals’ lips to Congress’s ears.

ICYMI: Obama’s Truth Team (aka Jonathan Gruber) celebrated 6th Anniversary of ‘Romneycare’

CNN reported on the Obama campaign’s April 12, 2012, “salute” to Romneycare’s 6th Anniversary:

“I helped Gov. Romney develop his health care reform or Romneycare, before going down to Washington to help President Obama develop his national version of that law,” says Jonathan Gruber a bright eyed MIT Health Consultant featured prominently in the video. The spot includes old footage of Romney thanking Gruber for his work on the Massachusetts health bill.

Gruber’s verdict: “The core of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare and what we did in Massachusetts are identical.”

On April 13, 2012, the Boston Globe reported:

The Obama campaign also released a video Thursday that chides Romney for inconsistent statements about health care reform, even as it praises his work on the state law.

The release of the three-minute video was timed to mark the six-year anniversary of Romney signing Massachusetts’ health care law.

The video features two men – Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist, and John McDonough, director of Harvard University’s Center for Public Health Leadership – who helped craft both Romney’s law and Obama’s law. Both vouch for similarities between the two and affirm Romney’s belief in 2006 that the Massachusetts version could serve as a national model.

“The core of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and what we did in Massachusetts are identical,” Gruber says in the video. “It was to President Obama’s credit that he said, ‘You know what, the policy might have been introduced on the right, but look, here’s something that really worked.’”

Just in case you missed viewing this video, here’s what the Obama “Truth Team” asked you to do:

“Join the Truth Team: https://my.barackobama.com/romneycarevid. April 12th is the anniversary of Romneycare.”

Lying Liars: Pelosi claims Gruber didn’t help write Obamacare; Gruber told PBS he did

Yesterday, the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack firmly rebutted Nancy Pelosi’s ridiculous press conference claim that Jonathan Gruber did not help to write the legislation we so-fondly call Obamacare.

McCormack cited from a 2009 entry on Pelosi’s own website.

Even better proof comes from a June 2012 interview Gruber gave PBS producer Michael Kirk for The Frontline:

Kirk: So now let’s do Obamacare. So a few years go by and what? Your phone rings again?

Gruber: So what happened is I had been working in a number of states, notably California. Some others had tried. And it was clear not much was going to happen without federal leadership.

And then Obama gets elected, and on his health advising team is a number of my friends from the Clinton administration who worked on health care reform round one. I like to think of it as sort of the preseason of what became the ultimate — I don’t want to demean the amazing amount of work that went into that, but these are veterans of those wars who were now on the Obama team saying: “Look, we have the opportunity to do what we were unable to do under Clinton and get this done. We think the Massachusetts model is the way to go. We would like you to come help the administration put the numbers together just like you did for Massachusetts.”

So I went down shortly after the election. I worked with the transition team to help put the numbers together for the administration. And then, essentially, most of 2009 I was really on loan from the administration to Congress, particularly the Senate Finance Committee, to help them put the numbers together on what became the finance committee bill, which really became Obamacare. Yeah, that’s what I did.

From the Obama Mandate God’s ears to yours.

Impeachable Offense: Better late than never, Krauthammer on executive amnesty

The ‘New York Times’, an unofficial member of the administration’s Politburo, is cheerleading Obama’s latest “plan” for illegal immigrants:

President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.

Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.

Leave it to Obama, and the ‘NYT’, to miss the significant fact that only Congress, as defined by Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, has the constitutional authority to regulate immigration.

Charles Krauthammer, with whom I often agree, speaking on Fox News last night, said that executive amnesty would be an impeachable offense.

“Look, I believe it is an impeachable offense,” Krauthammer told [Megyn] Kelly.

“If the circumstances were different, if we were at the beginning of a presidency, if we hadn’t had years when the Congress has been supine and unresponsive at other grabs of their authority by the executive–like Obama unilaterally changing Obamacare after it was passed about 30 times with no response from the Congress–the same as Obama essentially re-writing some of the drug laws.

“This idea of prosecutorial discretion is really a travesty. It is intended for extreme cases. For a case where you want to show mercy for an individual or two where it’s unusual incident, unusual circumstances and you say, okay, we’re going to give this person a pass. It was never intended to abolish a whole class of people subject to a law and to essentially abolish whole sections of a law. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

In our 2013 book ‘Impeachable Offenses’, my co-author, Aaron Klein, and I wrote:

All the talk of future immigration reform ignores how President Obama has already overseen interagency departmental directives that have bypassed Congress and granted de facto amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. Since taking office, the president has illegally, willfully, and deliberately been derelict of his duties as the chief executive while consistently usurping the constitutional authority vested with Congress to regulate immigration.

We also wrote:

There is no precedent in American history for a president or any other federal official to be impeached for granting mass amnesty to criminals and lawbreakers–which is what illegal immigrants are–or handing them the keys to the kingdom at the same time.

While there is no precedent, that does not mean that it could not happen. Sadly, Obama’s most recent promise to wave his magic wand is only one in a long line of such promises — and mostly symbolic. The horse long left the barn and has been happily grazing along the U.S. Southern Border — and nibbling out of taxpayer pockets — for years.