Tags: Barack Obama | Healthcare Reform | MidPoint | Sally Pipes | Jonathan Gruber | hearing | Obamacare

Health Policy Analyst: Gruber Fuels Obamacare Backlash

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 03:51 PM

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber broke no new ground with his apology before Congress on Tuesday, but the extra scrutiny of his old videotaped boast — that he essentially put one over on voters and budget analysts — strengthens the movement to scrap the law, says health policy writer Sally Pipes.

"I don't think we learned anything," Pacific Research Institute CEO Pipes told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday, but she argued that Gruber's testimony ratifies Americans' consistently low opinions — as seen in polls — of President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.

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The dismal polling, the energetic legal and congressional opposition, and the bad publicity surrounding MIT economist Gruber all help to create a national consensus to undo the law, according to the author of "The Pipes Plan: The Top Ten Ways to Dismantle Obamacare."

Pipes said that these converging developments "are awakening the American people to the fact of what they [already] believe … so let's move on and let's get rid of it."

Pipes acknowledged that under some scenarios, complete rollback and replacement of the ACA is a project requiring two years, at least, and a Republican presidency.

But Republicans in Congress can act right now and early next year to keep their momentum going, said Pipes, who recommended using the budget process to try to defund health insurance subsidies and overturn the law's expansion of Medicaid to lower-income people.

Everything could happen much faster, she said, if the Supreme Court agrees that consumers in states lacking online healthcare exchanges cannot get subsidized insurance through the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov.

"If the court rules that the subsidies for those in the federal exchanges were illegal, we're going to see Obamacare go into a tailspin — a downward spiral, because the employer mandate and the individual mandate will [also] collapse," said Pipes.

It was Gruber himself, in videotaped remarks that surfaced recently and caused a political uproar, who said that "if you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits."

The high court is scheduled to hear the subsidies challenge in January.

Pipes doubted the justices would rule based solely on Gruber's comments. "But there's a lot of information out there," she said, to the effect that "the American people were lied to, not only by Mr. Gruber, but by President Obama" regarding the health law.

At some point, said Pipes, Republicans will have to unite behind "one replacement plan" that proves "affordable, accessible quality care to all Americans."

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Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber broke no new ground with his apology before Congress on Tuesday, but the extra scrutiny of his old videotaped boast strengthens the movement to scrap the law, says health policy writer Sally Pipes.
Sally Pipes, Jonathan Gruber, hearing, Obamacare
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Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014 03:51 PM
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