Jonathan Gruber in 2012, proudly displaying the propagandistic comic book he designed and published to sell Obamacare.
20,000 pages of emails recently provided by the House Oversight Committee to the Wall Street Journal show that, despite their denials, Obamacare “architect” Jonathan Gruber worked closely with the White House on the crafting of ObamaCare. The emails reveal that Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, frequently contacted the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the healthcare law.
In videos that surfaced this past year, in 2013 Gruber referred to the “stupidity of the American voter” and the “huge political advantage” the healthcare legislation’s lack of transparency would provide in getting the bill passed.
The ensuing public furor against Gruber for his comments caused the Obama administration to distance themselves from the former adviser. “The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with … is no reflection on the actual process that was run,” Obama said of Gruber’s role at the G20 summit in Australia in November 2014.
Somehow, an adviser Obama completely disagreed with managed to snag frequent meetings with high-ranking White House officials — if you can believe that.
The emails show Mr. Gruber was in touch with key advisers such as Peter Orszag, who was director of the Office of Management and Budget, an arm of the White House that oversaw federal programs.
He was also in contact with Joshua Furman, an economic adviser to the president, and Ezekiel Emanuel, who was then a special adviser for health policy at OMB.
One email indicates Mr. Gruber was invited to meet with Mr. Obama. In a July 2009 email, he wrote that Mr. Orszag had “invited me to meet with the head honcho to talk about cost control.”
“Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,” according to Sept. 9, 2009 email to Mr. Gruber from Jeanne Lambrew, a top Obama administration health adviser who worked at HHS and the White House. In a November 2009 email, she called Mr. Gruber “our hero.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the committee that released the emails, said, “There’s no doubt [Gruber] was a much more integral part of this than they’ve said. He put up this facade he was an arm’s length away. It was a farce.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest poo-pooed the new findings, accusing the GOP of “game-playing” during Monday’s press briefing. He said the administration stands by its previous descriptions of Mr. Gruber as someone who had a limited role in developing Obamacare.
“If there’s a bombshell included in those emails, it certainly hasn’t gone off,” Mr. Earnest said.
(That’s the cue to the media to drop the issue — and sadly, most of them will oblige.)