Politico Downplays Jonathan Gruber as Obamacare Architect

November 15th, 2014 10:01 AM

Stop it! Stop it right now! Please don't refer to Jonathan Gruber as an Obamacare architect. He actually had a relatively minor role in the Obamacare scheme of things.

Since Politico is now unable to ignore the Jonathan Gruber scandal as they tried to do earlier this week, they have switched gears to craft a story by Politico health reporter Paige Winfield Cunningham to portray him as  much less than an architect of Obamacare. Ironically, this same reporter as recently as July also referred to Gruber as an Obamacare architect. First let us check out Cunningham's attempt to downplay the role of Gruber in her article that tells you where it is coming from just by reading the title, New Obamacare furor: Was Jonathan Gruber the “architect”?

Democrats are miffed that Gruber has portrayed himself as the “architect” of Obamacare. If he had stuck with being among the legion of policy and technical experts who played a role in the massive legislation, his insulting words wouldn’t have been so combustible.

Sniff! If only Gruber knew his place as being just one cog in the Obamacare herd, poor Ms Cunningham wouldn't have had to write this laughable article downplaying his role.

Obamacare backers — including some Democratic Hill aides past and present who didn’t want to be quoted by name — are miffed that Gruber depicts himself as the architect, given that hundreds of people were involved in the law’s drafting, drawing on new ideas as well as those that had been analyzed and debated for years.

“Gruber is like a lot of people who were involved in the debate. He’s an economist. He’s not a political analyst or commentator,” said Jay Angoff, who used to oversee Affordable Care Act implementation for HHS and who does not know the economist personally. “He’s not a legislator. He’s not a staff guy. He’s like 300 million other Americans who can have their opinion.”

Yeah, just a nobody who was paid a $400,000 consultation fee by the government and had a meeting with President Obama on how to implement a Cadillac tax on insurance plans.

“Was he in the administration, was he in the Congress, did he draft provisions of the law?” said Chris Jennings, a health care consultant and former White House aide on health policy. “The answer to all those questions is no, so just by definition he was not the architect of the law. He wasn’t a member [of Congress], he wasn’t an elected leader, he wasn’t [a] staff member to those members, he was not a political or career appointee to the administration. He was a private consultant.”

A private consultant who was paid better than anyone in Congress or the administration.

Gruber hasn’t tried to tamp down the impression that he was one of the law’s primary influencers. He’s described as “one of its principle architects” by the speaker’s bureau LeighBureau that represents him. His MIT biography calls him a “key architect” of the Massachusetts health reform law and says he helped “craft” the federal law. Numerous articles have used the term architect to describe him.

Yeah, blame it on Gruber because he is a blowhard braggart.

Angoff downplayed Gruber’s role over Twitter. “Pls stop calling Gruber ‘the architect’ of #ACA,” Angoff tweeted. “Dozens of economists advised on ACA. #Gruber is one. His words aren’t legislative history.”

Pls stop! I beg you! Gruber is not the architect of Obamacare. Pls believe me! Pretty pls!!!

Okay, message received. Gruber was a nobody who was definitely not an Obamacare architect...except that guess who described him precisely that way? Why none other than the author of the preceding story, Paige Winfield Cunningham who in July described Gruber this way in the very first sentence of her article:

One of Obamacare’s chief architects, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, just handed conservatives a gotcha moment.

Exit question: If Jonathan Gruber is forced to testify to Congress will he proclaim that he is not now nor has he ever been an Obamacare architect?