by John Gibson
MIT economic Professor Jonathan Gruber has been doing conservatives a favor of late, revealing the utter disdain and contempt in which liberals hold the "stupid" American voter. If you need a reminder, check here, and here.
But Gruber has also solved one mystery and and at the same moment created another. The first mystery: why exactly Obamacare is NOT a copy of Romneycare. Second mystery: why couldn't Romney explain this simple difference when Obama claimed in the debate that his plan was just a national version of Romney's.
Here's what Gruber revealed: Romneycare was based on the fact the state of Massachusetts, courtesy the late Senator Teddy Kennedy, had a huge slush fund of federal money for the healthcare of the uninsured in that state, which Romney saw as an opportunity to use more efficiently funding universal coverage in Massachusetts. No other state had that advantage, no other state had a federal pot of money which in Massachusetts was $400,000,000, almost half a billion dollars.
Obamacare didn't have that slush fund, either. Multiplied by the scale of 49 other states, Obamacare had to come up with trillions of dollars and that's where the endless taxes on your health care comes in. That's why your premiums and deductibles are so high. That's why you are paying an onerous tax on a health plan the Obamacare designers, including especially Jonathan Gruber, consider too good, the so called Cadillac plans. That's why Obamacare taxes your insurance company, which then passes on the cost to you.
All this is revealed in a half hour long interview Gruber did with PBS producer Micheal Kirk in June, 2012.
Gruber glosses over this fact of the Massachusetts slush fund...mostly. But he does reveal that he was asked by another moderate Republican governor, California's Arnold Schwartzenegger, to come out and explore whether California could copy Romney's plan from Massachusets. He also reveals that the plan would not work for California because California did not have that $400 million pile of healthcare money that Massachusets had. In other words, nobody could mimic Romneycare unless it had magic money from somewhere else, or unless it's politicians were willing to burden its taxpayers to make up the shortfall.
Nobody...until Barack Obama came along. He had no compunction about laying on heavy taxes, as long as they could be camouflaged as something else.
This is why Romneycare is NOT the same as Obamacare.
One mystery solved. A second remains: why couldn't Romney just say that when Obama stuck Romneycare-is-Obamacare in his face in that 2012 debate? I don't have an answer to that one.
But I do think Jonathan Gruber has also revealed himself as a money grubbing con man.
The Washington Times has reported that Gruber got fat contracts from several states, plus another $400,000 from the feds to consult on Obamacare, in all raking in more than a million dollars.
The scandalous part is that state after state hired Guber to explore what he already knew would be a dead end, but enriching him personally. He probably should have said to these states "Hey, I went through this with California, which gave up the project because it didn't have half a billion dollars in federal cash to fund the shortfall. Does your state have that kind of money? No? Well, don't waste your money on me because you are like California. It's impossible."
But he didn't. The states who contacted Gruber gave up after realizing they could not lay huge taxes on their voters. And Gruber kept the money he could have saved those states by simply telling the truth up front.
That's an important question: Did Gruber play a shell game on those state contracts? He should step up and answer.