ObamaCare Reality Check; Jonathan Gruber & White House

Green Bay TV
Media Blackout
ObamaCare
Reality Check;
Jonathan Gruber
& White House
6-23-15

Bias by Story Selection

Bias by Story Selection is a pattern of highlighting news stories that coincide with the agenda of the Left, while ignoring stories that reflect negatively on liberals; or on the liberal agenda.

Green Bay news stations have established a pattern of ignoring unfavorable news for the Obama Administration. We have two examples in just the past two weeks on the topic of the Affordable Care Act alone.

On June 15, 2015 Investors.com investigated how hospitals are fairing with the implementation of ObamaCare. The news was not great.

According to Investors.com: In Kentucky, which fully embraced ObamaCare and where three quarters of the newly insured are on Medicaid, the state’s hospital association says the law has cost hospitals there $1 billion, resulting “in hospital staff layoffs” and threatening the “availability of hospital care, especially in rural areas.”

Meanwhile, several states that expanded Medicaid have seen enrollment rates much higher than expected. Just seven states saw 1.4 million more sign up for the government-run health program than they’d planned. In Kentucky, Medicaid enrollment was twice what the state had predicted, and in Illinois, more than 500,000 had signed up. The state estimated that 199,000 would. Now they’re starting to wonder how they’re going to pay these costs down the road. …

According to The Heartland Institute: New Mexico is one of 28 states that expanded Medicaid coverage for impoverished adults as part of the implementation of Obamacare, resulting in more than 216,000 people joining the state’s Medicaid roster and pushing the total to nearly 800,000 enrollees.

Combined with a loss of federal funds used to pay for the expansion in 2016, the state will face a serious budget crunch, the Associated Press reports.

The federal government currently pays 100 percent of the cost of the expansion, but that percentage will decrease beginning in 2017 to 90 percent, resulting in New Mexico having to pay about $120 million of the expansion’s expenses. By 2020, more than 895,000 people could be on the rolls, including 257,000 who will be covered by the expansion. Based on current projections, total general fund dollars needed to cover the state’s Medicaid program by fiscal year 2020 will be $1.1 billion, including $268 million caused by the expansion.

David Abbey, director of the state’s Legislative Finance Committee, says other parts of the budget are going to have to shrink to accommodate the rapidly expanding Medicaid spending. …

The local media’s aversion to covering ObamaCare dates back to the crafting of the legislation and continues with new revelations about ObamaCare author and MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who mocked American voters for their “stupidity”.

According to The Hill: The ObamaCare consultant who once mocked the “stupidity of the American voter” had a bigger impact on the healthcare law than previously known, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.

Jonathan Gruber frequently contacted Obama administration officials via email while crafting ObamaCare, according to the newspaper.

The Journal said that previously unreleased messages show that Gruber repeatedly messaged the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) between January, 2009 and March, 2010.

He offered advice on healthcare policy and informed officials about media and lawmaker interviews concerning ObamaCare, the report added. …

According to The Daily Caller: … Gruber, an MIT professor, was hired as a consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services on Obamacare. A number of videos and recordings emerged last year showing Gruber’s disdain for the “stupidity of the American voter,” and expounding on the “huge political advantage” the administration had because Obamacare was passed with little transparency — leading the administration to distance itself from the professor.

… “The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is no reflection on the actual process that was run,” Obama said of Gruber’s comments in November 2014.

But Gruber’s relationship with the administration appears much cozier than previously represented. Gruber was in contact with key advisers; he verified his own role within the administration with top officials while dealing with media requests; and he even worked to convince a key senator to support the legislation.

“His proximity to HHS and the White House was a whole lot tighter than they admitted,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told the WSJ. “There’s no doubt he 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.”

Gruber was in contact with key advisers on the health-care law, including Peter Orszag, then-director of the Office of Management and Budget; Jason Furman, then an economic adviser to the president who is now chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers; and Ezekiel Emanuel, then a special adviser for health policy at OMB.

“Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,” Jeanne Lambrew, a top administration official at HHS and the White House, wrote to Gruber in September 2009. In another email several months later, she hailed Gruber as “our hero.”

Far from being an independent contractor, Gruber regularly consulted with Lambrew when answering questions about his relationship with the Obama administration. Gruber went to Lambrew for advice when a Politico reporter asked why he had not disclosed his administration contract before writing about health care policy, and asked Lambrew to review his description of his own responsibilities at HHS before responding. Gruber also spoke to top HHS officials about his interviews with other reporters, including one with Ezra Klein, then at the Washington Post.

And top administration officials came to Gruber with serious queries as well. Lawrence Summers, who was in August 2009 a top economic adviser, emailed Gruber to ask about the content of the legislation itself: “if you were POTUS, what would u do now?” Gruber told Summers Obama should “hold out for enough money to do universal coverage,” according to the WSJ.

Apart from policy questions, the emails provide a picture of Gruber being intimately involved in selling the health-care law as well. Gruber kept HHS informed about his conversations with Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, who originally opposed Obamacare but eventually supported it. …

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