Tags: Barack Obama | Healthcare Reform | jonathan gruber | obamacare | subpoena | house | oversight

Rep. Chaffetz Undecided on Subpoena for Jonathan Gruber

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 09:21 PM

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Tuesday that he has not decided whether to reissue a subpoena to former Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, whose taped comments about the lack of transparency and "the stupidity of the American voter" being key to passing the Affordable Care Act triggered a political firestorm late last year.

Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, told The Washington Times that he wants to speak to the MIT professor's attorneys and give him a chance to voluntarily turn over documents related to his work in developing Obamacare and how much he was paid.

Gruber became a symbol of Obamacare's failings after tapes of his comments surfaced last year. For example, The Daily Caller reported that Gruber said that the federal healthcare program had no cost controls in it and would be unaffordable.

"The problem is it starts to go hand in hand with the mandate; you can't mandate insurance that's not affordable," Gruber said in a 2009 policy brief. "This is going to be a major issue."

Why are supporters of a massive, federally run, health-care overhaul "closer than we've ever been before?" Gruber asked. " Because there are no cost controls in these proposals.

Because this bill's about coverage. Which is good! Why should we hold 48 million uninsured people hostage to the fact that we don't yet know how to control costs in a politically acceptable way?"

Last year, Rep. Darrell Issa of California, then chairman of the House Oversight panel, subpoenaed Gruber's records after a hearing in which the witness refused to discuss details of his work and how much he was getting paid.

President Barack Obama tried to distance his administration from Gruber, describing him as "some adviser who never worked on our staff." But that argument became untenable after it was later discovered that Gruber was paid almost $400,000 by the administration for his work in crafting Obamacare.

In the policy brief, Gruber also said that the only way it would be possible to control costs is to effectively deny patients treatment.

"The real substance of cost control is all about a single thing: telling patients they can't have something they want," he said. "It's about telling patients, 'That surgery doesn't do any good, so if you want it you have to pay the full cost.' "

After the bill's passage, Gruber admitted that Obama was aware – despite his claims to the contrary – that the measure was unlikely to control costs.

"I wish that President Obama could have stood up and said, 'You know, I don't know if this bill is going to control costs. It might, it might not. We're doing our best. But let me tell you what it's going to do," Gruber said on a 2012 podcast.

"If he could make that speech? Instead, he says, 'I'm going to pass a bill that will lower your health care costs.' That sells," Gruber said.

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House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Tuesday that he has not decided whether to reissue a subpoena to former Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, whose taped comments about the lack of transparency...
jonathan gruber, obamacare, subpoena, house, oversight, jason chaffetz
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2015-21-03
Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 09:21 PM
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