Dr. Jon Gruber, professor of economics at MIT, played a central role in drafting both ObamaCare and the state level law that preceded it in Massachusetts, RomneyCare. He appeared on America’s Radio News today and, among other things, said that after three days of argument he is less sure now that the individual mandate will hold up. Click to play the segment.
Dr. Gruber is undoubtedly very intelligent, but there are holes in his arguments large enough to drive a truck through. I find it fascinating that Gruber insists that “all legal experts agree” that ObamaCare’s individual mandate is constitutional. More than half of the states’ attorneys general — 28 of them — are legal experts and they’re suing to block ObamaCare expressly on constitutional grounds. The case has attracted a record 130 amicus briefs weighing in on both sides of the issue. Who are these “legal experts” Dr. Gruber keeps referring to without naming? He claims that they are “neutral.” We deserve to know his definition of that word. As it stands, his argument is nothing more than a phony appeal to some unnamed authority.
Another takeaway from the interview is that Dr. Gruber acknowledges that ObamaCare can lead to further expansions of federal government power. He admits that there is no brake on federal power built into the law. His counter to the argument regarding funeral insurance amounts to “health care is different because we say so.” But health care is not fundamentally different than many markets in which people may not be active at the present but some day will be. If it is, it is because the federal law mandating care for those who cannot afford it has already distorted the market, as wage controls during World War II gave rise to employer-based health care in the first place. He also never acknowledges that the taxpayers are being forced to pay for health care twice under the ObamaCare law — once, in any taxes we pay that fund the doctors and hospitals that under federal law must provide care to people who cannot afford it, and then again in the mandate to purchase insurance.
It’s fascinating to hear the thinking of a statist from the statist himself. That is what this interview offers.