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Author Topic: Obamacare designer Jon Gruber brags about dishonesty and "stupidity of Americans"
Fenring
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I have to say, having just watched the segment, that I'm not too impressed with Gruber's snide humor in the moments he describes how the act had to be passed in the way it was due to the stupidity of the American public.

I don't really have a stance on the issue of how good or bad the ACA is, but when a subsequent commentator described the authors of the ACA as "a bunch of elitists" it somehow felt like it fit Gruber. Whether or not Gruber really is an elitist, it is all too clear that high-level decisions made these days probably don't reflect the feelings of the American people all that much.

Gruber's "the ends justify the means" comment is probably just indicative of politics in general right now: "Yeah, there's things I wish I could change, but I'd rather have the law than not". Even though I vaguely respect the honesty in him saying it, hearing the cynicism out loud can send a chill down the spine.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
it is all too clear that high-level decisions made these days probably don't reflect the feelings of the American people
When, in the last forty years, do you believe high-level decisions have reflected the feelings of the American people?

Another question: when, in the last forty years, should high-level decisions have reflected the feelings of the American people.

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Fenring
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To your first point there's no contest, although I think it began in the first half of the 20th century. But I believe that a cycle of vicious training can ensue from disregarding the people without serious repercussion. Not only do the people slowly become disconnected from awareness of reality, but the lack of awareness gives politicians even more reason to pander and issue empty statements, which leads to worse awareness. Eventually it really becomes true that the people are clueless and that the politicians are about nothing except the election cycle.

So while it may, in some sense, be true that trusting an ignorant populace to truly decide on important and subtle issues can be problematic, at the same time not trusting them reinforces their ignorance. Should this cycle be allowed to go on forever?

In principle, I'd say yes, high level decisions should reflect the will of the people if you really believe in representative democracy. That system has predictable pitfalls that cannot be reason to shrug off the system when they arise (such as when the people are wrong about something). If you don't really believe in the system then I guess the question for you would be whether you feel its deviation veers towards your preference or away from it. If you were a statist then you'd probably say the system is working better now than originally intended, and if you were a staunch libertarian you'd probably say it's working far worse than intended.

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Seneca
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Ah yes, nothing like the elitist attitude of the snobby progressives who think they know "what's best" for the "little people."
That is the biggest threat to our freedom. As Abraham Lincoln once said the US will not fall to an external threat, it will fall from within. When people believe that elitist "masterminds" should rule over us and damn the will of the people, that's when it ends.

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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by Fenring:
Even though I vaguely respect the honesty in him saying it, hearing the cynicism out loud can send a chill down the spine.

Saying that you respect the honesty of someone that admits he lies is even more chilling. However, seeing those on this thread defend it is what is most chilling.
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scifibum
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Step 1: Say that it is what it isn't, breathlessly.
Step 2: Wait for someone to say "that's not what it is".
Step 3: Be aghast that they are *gasp* defending it.

Rinse and repeat.

(I went ahead and scanned back through the thread, looking for a defense of what Gruber said. Couldn't find one.)

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0rnery
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Wow, from the land of flying pigs, the mainstream media finally utters a Grubergate peep...
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Seneca
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A third video has now surfaced of Gurber smugly putting down Americans as idiot-peasants who need policy imposed upon them.

Unsurprisingly, Pelosi has attempted to pretend she doesn't know who Gruber is.

There are a few small problems with that though...

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4514604/nancy-pelosi-mentions-jonathan-gruber-analysis

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Pyrtolin
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And yet still no evidence that supports your claim that we should consider him or what he claims now to be even remotely relevant.
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TomDavidson
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To be fair, I think Gruber's relevant in the sense that he was involved in high-level planning, and I see no reason to doubt his claim that the ACA was written to game the CBO scoring system.
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Seneca
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Also, it seems Gruber was much more involved than even previously thought. He was not paid 400,000.00, it looks like he made out with possible over 4 million or maybe much more than that. News releases and documents keep surfacing every day now showing this guy's involvement was bigger than we previously thought. It was ludicrous for Obama to state on TV that this guy does not reflect the administration just because he wasn't officially on staff when they paid him a fortune to do this work on the bill.

[ November 18, 2014, 11:11 AM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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TomDavidson
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And again, to be fair, when we talk about Gruber "making out" with around $4M, we're talking about multiple contracts -- through his firm -- with state governments and various federal agencies for consulting on projections, etc., and not on authoring the ACA.

That said, it's a pretty textbook case of double-dipping; he's clearly cut out to be a defense contractor. [Smile]

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Wayward Son
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I think it would be pertinient to the conversation to point out exactly what Jon Gruber did for the Administration in regards to the Affordable Care Act.

Per PolitiFact:

quote:
A month after Obama took office in 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services contracted Gruber to provide "technical assistance in evaluating options for national healthcare reform," according to a federal job posting.

Gruber was the only person considered for the position because he developed a "proprietary statistically sophisticated micro-simulation model that has the flexibility to ascertain the distribution of changes in health care spending and public and private health sector costs."

Essentially, Gruber had built a way to accurately estimate health care costs and spending for varying health insurance proposals, federal programs and tax policies, and it made him "uniquely positioned to provide the analytic work."

For this, Gruber was paid quite well. According to a recent story by the Washington Post Fact Checker, Gruber earned about $400,000 for his work with HHS and the Obama administration. He has since made seven figures helping various states set up their own insurance marketplaces in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

The Gruber Microsimulation Model

Gruber’s model, called the Gruber Microsimulation Model, was able to predict important factors, such as how much insurance would cost for individuals to buy in each state.

Another important element of Gruber’s model is its outputs were very similar to those produced by the Congressional Budget Office, Congress’ nonpartisan fiscal scorekeeper. With everyone watching closely to see how the Congressional Budget Office was evaluating the fiscal impact of the various health care bills, having a model that could accurately predict what the CBO would say was very valuable to the process.

Does any of this sound like shaping the policy of how the ACA would be presented? Does it sound like he had much of a role in deciding if it was a tax or a fine?

His input was predicting what the CBO would say regarding the fiscal impact of the ACA. That was basically it.

quote:
John McDonough, a Harvard health policy professor who was a senior adviser to the Senate Health and Education Committee when the law was written, told PolitiFact that Gruber’s involvement was important, but it did not involve the actual writing of the bill.

"Jon had designed an economic model to be able to estimate any changing set of parameters like how much a policy would cost and how many people would get covered and various other effects," said McDonough, who also worked with Gruber in Massachusetts. "In 2009 and 2010 he took a year off from his teaching and other duties and worked out of his home in Lexington, Mass., and was basically on call almost 24-7 to run various models for us."

"But he was not in the room in the determination of what policies would be in or not be in the law," McDonough added. "I was one of an army of people who were in the room at various times. Jon was not."

Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress who served as a senior adviser for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services from 2009-10, wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that Gruber "did not make policy, nor did he work for the White House, HHS, or any congressional committee."

"The true architects of the ACA are the members of the Senate Finance and Senate Health committees who wrote the bill," she wrote.

So although he had important input to the ACA in that he helped arrange the timing of when the cost of the ACA would appear, he was not important in forming the overall ACA. He may have opinions about how the bill was formulated and the strategies of presentation, but he apparently was not part of the discussion or decision about those strategies. He was not one of the principle architechs of the ACA.
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Seneca
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quote:
Does any of this sound like shaping the policy of how the ACA would be presented? Does it sound like he had much of a role in deciding if it was a tax or a fine?

His input was predicting what the CBO would say regarding the fiscal impact of the ACA. That was basically it.

Which was huge because that determined if it would pass or not. However I disagree that that is all the input he had, as you even basically admit in your next point, which undercuts and negates your own previous statement.

quote:
So although he had important input to the ACA in that he helped arrange the timing of when the cost of the ACA would appear, he was not important in forming the overall ACA. He may have opinions about how the bill was formulated and the strategies of presentation, but he apparently was not part of the discussion or decision about those strategies. He was not one of the principle architechs of the ACA.
Wrong. He was a major architect of both Romneycare AND Obamacare. Even Obama admitted as much even as far back as 2006. Bet you haven't seen this yet...
http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/224423-obama-in-2006-ive-liberally-stolen-ideas-from-gruber

It's fairly clear that for the last 8 years Jon Gruber has by Obama's own admission been a major influence and adviser to this administration from before they were even an administration!

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
A third video has now surfaced of Gurber smugly putting down Americans as idiot-peasants who need policy imposed upon them.

Whereas the Republicans only think that about 47% of Americans?
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0rnery
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Speaking of the Gimmecrats (47% who won't give up their free stuff for the good of the country), that little blurb by Romney went viral on the mainstream media. But, when the top "consultant" for this abortion of a social program spews an even bigger gaff... crickets.
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yossarian22c
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quote:
Originally posted by 0rnery:
Speaking of the Gimmecrats (47% who won't give up their free stuff for the good of the country), that little blurb by Romney went viral on the mainstream media. But, when the top "consultant" for this abortion of a social program spews an even bigger gaff... crickets.

Do you think that might be because Romney was running for President and almost no one had heard of Gruber before this video.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
Gimmecrats (47% who won't give up their free stuff for the good of the country)...
Which make up a sizeable portion of the Republican party. [Smile]
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velcro
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Wayward nailed it. Gruber wrote a model used for RomneyCare and ACA. He is an economist with a very technical focus. Not a political consultant, or legislative expert. He did not craft the law, he provided data for legislators and lobbyists to craft the law.

Some here will refuse to acknowledge this fact. It does not make it false.

So being on a list of several people that Obama stole ideas from proves that he was a primary architect of one specific law passed 4 years later? Even though the people who actually wrote the law explain his very limited and technical input?
Really? I mean, you are honestly, swear to whoever you want, saying that you consider this to be proof? And that is all you have? Wow. Just, wow. It's like trying to play poker with someone who thinks you can make up your own wild cards at will.

As far as the Gimmecrats, that includes retirees, active duty military in combat duties, disabled people, and those working three part time jobs for minimum wage. That was made perfectly clear years ago. Yet some people prefer dragging out disproved facts to support their ideology rather than acknowledge the truth.

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AI Wessex
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This is the era of win-at-all-costs bully-style politics. I predict the GOP will continue to refine their knives using the kind of logic Seneca presents over and over here, and Democrats will never be able to play that game as effectively. As you just did, most of the time we just point the ludicrous logic behind their arguments and are satisfied because we think we have done our job.

Thinking about that has got me wondering what kind of country the US will turn into. No matter how oppressive and exclusive the GOP makes it, they will keep insisting that they are doing it in the name of Freedom! and the Holy Constitution. Muslims, women, gays, minorities of all kinds (including people in poverty) need not apply for favored treatment.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by velcro:
Wayward nailed it. Gruber wrote a model used for RomneyCare and ACA. He is an economist with a very technical focus. Not a political consultant, or legislative expert. He did not craft the law, he provided data for legislators and lobbyists to craft the law.

Some here will refuse to acknowledge this fact. It does not make it false.

So being on a list of several people that Obama stole ideas from proves that he was a primary architect of one specific law passed 4 years later? Even though the people who actually wrote the law explain his very limited and technical input?
Really? I mean, you are honestly, swear to whoever you want, saying that you consider this to be proof? And that is all you have? Wow. Just, wow. It's like trying to play poker with someone who thinks you can make up your own wild cards at will.

As far as the Gimmecrats, that includes retirees, active duty military in combat duties, disabled people, and those working three part time jobs for minimum wage. That was made perfectly clear years ago. Yet some people prefer dragging out disproved facts to support their ideology rather than acknowledge the truth.

So you dispute all the money this guy made working on the actual ACA?
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TomDavidson
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How much money do you believe he made working on the actual ACA?
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Wayward Son
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Or, more precisely, how much do you believe he was paid to--

- make sure the bill was written in a certain way, and

- make sure it was presented in a certain way.

Because right now, he appears to have little or no input in either of those areas.

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velcro
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He was paid a lot of money create an economic model of the insurance industry.

He was not paid any money to "work on the actual ACA"

Nice non-sequitur pivot, though.

All of my points remain undisputed.

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Seneca
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quote:
Originally posted by velcro:
He was paid a lot of money create an economic model of the insurance industry.

He was not paid any money to "work on the actual ACA"

Nice non-sequitur pivot, though.

All of my points remain undisputed.

Sorry but that lie as told by the administration has been rated as "mostly false."

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/nov/19/barack-obama/barack-obama-says-mit-professor-jonathan-gruber-wa/

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TomDavidson
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Um....Seneca, your link completes validates the claim you seem to think it rebuts.
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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
This is the era of win-at-all-costs bully-style politics. I predict the GOP will continue to refine their knives using the kind of logic Seneca presents over and over here, and Democrats will never be able to play that game as effectively. As you just did, most of the time we just point the ludicrous logic behind their arguments and are satisfied because we think we have done our job.

Thinking about that has got me wondering what kind of country the US will turn into. No matter how oppressive and exclusive the GOP makes it, they will keep insisting that they are doing it in the name of Freedom! and the Holy Constitution. Muslims, women, gays, minorities of all kinds (including people in poverty) need not apply for favored treatment.

When you paint half of the country with this kind of brush, you do yourself and the entire country a big disservice.
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Um....Seneca, your link completes validates the claim you seem to think it rebuts.

Not exactly, although I think I know what you mean. You're saying that the Politifact article states that Gruber was behind the microsimulation model, but wasn't in the room for the drafting of the bill and had nothing to do with the particular clauses in the bill. From this you are suggesting that Gruber didn't really play a part in the political and health-care side of things, merely in the mechanics of the system, and therefore had no hand in the ensuing policy. This would imply that Gruber's comments may have been his opinion but that his work on the project didn't even have the opportunity to be influenced by his opinion.

But what Seneca's saying is that Gruber essentially bragged about how the ACA gamed the CBO, and if Gruber knew this and had been asked to design the ACA with certain parameters, one of which was fooling the CBO, then this would tie directly into Gruber's comments about how the bill's lack of transparency (fooling the CBO) and the stupidity of the American people (fooling the people and Congress) allowed it to pass.

Someone earlier in this thread mentioned how if Gruber's only contribution was effectively to game the CBO then what's the big deal. Even if that fact is entirely accurate, the fact that Gruber knew his work was being employed to stealth a bill into being passed by him providing a deliberately opaque structure into which to write the laws shows that his comments are pertinent. If Gruber's model was designed to fool the CBO and public, and it did so, him claiming they are fools would be consistent with his participation and knowledge, and would also show that the bill was structured to be obscure while it was in the debate stages.

Gruber didn't need to have worked on the specific clauses about coverage, state vs federal organization, and all the rest, to have participated sufficiently to know he helped them fool the American people.

By the way I'm not saying I'm taking this position, but I think some of you are missing Seneca's point.

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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Step 1: Say that it is what it isn't, breathlessly.
Step 2: Wait for someone to say "that's not what it is".
Step 3: Be aghast that they are *gasp* defending it.

Rinse and repeat.

(I went ahead and scanned back through the thread, looking for a defense of what Gruber said. Couldn't find one.)

You couldn't? You're right, there was not a single instance of someone explicitly saying that deliberately lying to people is bad. Did you really expect them to? Of course they won't explicitly say that.

Let's see what you did find:

quote:
That in some areas it is no better or worse than previous administrations...
quote:
The upshot - this isn't that much of a "gotcha"
quote:
Hey, I thought that Rahm Emanuel's brother, Ari Emanuel, essentially crafted the law.
quote:
Clearly, that is a function of whether they have a 'D' (as opposed to some other letter) next to their names.
quote:
Would you do me the favor of listing the other individuals whom you consider to have "essentially crafted" this law, so that we can determine -- when other obfuscatory "scandals" arise -- whether they were important figures or just one of a thousand authors?
There are plenty of similar statements but you get the idea. What this represents is the defense of Gruber and, by extension, Obamacare. A little snark, some "others did it", direct insult and personal attacks (toward the end of page 1), etc. This is the cover, a smoke screen, deflection.

You stay focused on the specific words instead of actions then you are merely looking at the trees and missing the forest. It's not what they say, it's what they do. And what they do is defend Gruber.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
You stay focused on the specific words instead of actions then you are merely looking at the trees and missing the forest. It's not what they say, it's what they do.
Of course, insisting on the big picture (forest) and ignoring the facts (trees) paints a different picture.
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AI Wessex
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quote:
When you paint half of the country with this kind of brush, you do yourself and the entire country a big disservice.
I perhaps wasn't clear. I don't equate the GOP with Republicans. How the voters behave at home and how the party behaves in the halls of government are different things. The voters want a great many of the things that the party opposes.
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velcro
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Fenring wrote
quote:
if Gruber knew this and had been asked to design the ACA with certain parameters, one of which was fooling the CBO,
Except he did not design the ACA. He designed a model which provided predictions for how the ACA would work in the real world, so the policymakers could make decisions. Then he shot his mouth off about stuff he actually had nothing to do with.

Rafi, your comments cherry pick other statements, often taking them out of context. Many of them don't even support your point. For example, reminding Seneca that he said Ari Emmanuel was the chief architect does not excuse Gruber in any way. It just points out that he was not really involved. But bonus points for trying everything possible to make a point when there is no real data to make it with.

And finally, Seneca, the claim that Gruber was "some adviser" is mostly false, because data from his model was a significant contribution do the development of the law. But the summary is
quote:
His economic simulation model was very important to those writing the bill, even if he wasn’t the person deciding what would make the legislation and what would be left at the cutting board.
So, as Tom said, that source exactly proves my point.
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0rnery
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Fact check: The ACA-Gruber connection - USA Today

Obama's claim that he was "some adviser" and Pelosi's focus on how many committee hearings he attended brush aside the fact that he was a highly paid consultant whose modeling work was instrumental in determining the impact of health care policy.

And still, the mainstream media can't be bothered with this story. "The 2014 American Music Awards", "Bighorn Sheep Dies After Escaping From LA Zoo", "Strong Quake in West China Kills 5; 54 Hurt"... all much more important than learning how your representative was duped into voting for yet another huge socialist entitlement.

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AI Wessex
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The only thing I can think of to say in response is that I guess you're mistaken.
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velcro
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0rnery,

Please read above. I completely agree, Gruber was not "some adviser". He created the models that "determined the impact of health care policy".

But let me clarify. His models determined the impact of health care policy in the same way that your Quicken software determines the impact of your spending on your bank account.

The Quicken software writers do not determine what you spend, how you spend it, or why you spend it, or what you feel you have to tell your spouse to justify spending it. The software tells you the impact of your decisions on your account balances.

Gruber did not write the law, and was not consulted on legislative or political aspects of the law, or what needed to be done to pass it. He wrote the model that tells the impact of different health care decisions on the economy.

Do you understand this fact?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
And what does that say about an administration that proclaims itself to be the most open, honest and transparent in history?

That Obama's as treacherous in his promises as Ronald Reagan, who ran mostly on a platform of BALANCING THE BUDGET.
[LOL] [Crying] and deserved about as much credit for the fall of the USSR as Obama deserves for falling gas prices.

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AI Wessex
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No surprise here on how people who do/don't have health insurance are distributed across the country. The maps here are by county, not state, which makes the findings an even bigger indictment.
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