Last week, a video of Jonathan Gruber was uncovered showing him talking about "ripping off" the Federal government to the tune of $400 million a year to finance RomneyCare. Watch the clip below:
Whenever someone comes out with a video clip that purports to show something scandalous, its better to see the entire clip. Watch Gruber's entire lecture below:
Many conservatives see the short clip and think this is evidence that RomneyCare is just as slimy as ObamaCare. However, John Gibson of Fox News says that the short clip doesn't reveal the full story:
"...Gruber has also solved one mystery and and at the same moment created another. The first mystery: why exactly Obamacare is NOT a copy of Romneycare. Second mystery: why couldn’t Romney explain this simple difference when Obama claimed in the debate that his plan was just a national version of Romney’s.
Here’s what Gruber revealed: Romneycare was based on the fact the state of Massachusetts, courtesy the late Senator Teddy Kennedy, had a huge slush fund of federal money for the healthcare of the uninsured in that state, which Romney saw as an opportunity to use more efficiently funding universal coverage in Massachusetts. No other state had that advantage, no other state had a federal pot of money which in Massachusetts was $400,000,000, almost half a billion dollars.
Obamacare didn’t have that slush fund, either. Multiplied by the scale of 49 other states, Obamacare had to come up with trillions of dollars and that’s where the endless taxes on your health care comes in. That’s why your premiums and deductibles are so high. That’s why you are paying an onerous tax on a health plan the Obamacare designers, including especially Jonathan Gruber, consider too good, the so called Cadillac plans. That’s why Obamacare taxes your insurance company, which then passes on the cost to you.
All this is revealed in a half hour long interview Gruber did with PBS producer Micheal Kirk in June, 2012.
Gruber glosses over this fact of the Massachusetts slush fund…mostly."
The truth is that Governor Mitt Romney did not rip the Federal Government off. The $400 million was money that was already provided to the state long before Mitt Romney entered into office. Not once did the Federal Government ever object to what Mitt Romney did because there was no problem here. The federal government was aware of it and apparently gave its blessing to do this. In fact, the Washington Post demolishes Gruber's claim that the Federal government was ripped off and verifies that the government gave its blessing to the money to fund RomneyCare:
"He's [Gruber] talking about the deal from the federal government that helped Massachusetts set up its 2006 coverage expansion, which later became the basis for the Affordable Care Act. It's hardly a secret. And Bush re-authorized the deal in 2008.
The short story is basically this: Massachusetts, since the late 1990s, had been receiving special Medicaid funds through a waiver to fund care for populations the program traditionally didn't cover. In 2005, President George W. Bush wanted to end that funding, worth about $350 million. But Kennedy, working with Romney, put together a deal to keep the funds and then some by expanding Medicaid and providing subsidies to help low-income people purchase private insurance. The Bush administration signed off on that deal, giving us Romneycare, which then gave us Obamacare.That state Medicaid waiver has been renegotiated three times since then, including earlier this month."
In other words, the late Senator Ted Kennedy was able to convince the Federal government to provide this money for the purposes of assisting the uninsured in Massachusetts long before Mitt Romney became Governor. What Mitt did was that he lawfully diverted that money into funding RomneyCare to assist those who did not have insurance. The money was already there. Mitt Romney just found a more cost effective and efficient way to use that money for the same purpose. If the $400 million was being provided to the state to help uninsured people, why not use that money in a much more efficient way to help those without insurance?
Mitt Romney explained the entire process of how he developed his health care plan for the state of Massachusetts in his book, "No Apology: Believe in America." This is where John Gibson (and the rest of the media) gets it wrong. Mitt Romney did explain this difference. But people didn't want to listen or they weren't paying attention. Especially many conservatives. Many of them bought the lie that RomneyCare is the same as ObamaCare. This lie was enough to turn them off to Romney. They haven't done the research or the fact checking to see that RomneyCare is not even remotely the same as ObamaCare. And these conservatives don't want to take the time to learn the facts.
In fact, the funding scheme for RomneyCare is one of the central reasons why Mitt Romney said his health care plan for Massachusetts could not work at the national level. Johnathan Gruber makes this point for Mitt Romney without realizing it:
"The problem is there is no way to say that," Gruber said. "Because they're the same f[******] bill. He just can't have his cake and eat it too. Basically, you know, it's the same bill. He can try to draw distinctions and stuff, but he's just lying. The only big difference is he didn't have to pay for his. Because the federal government paid for it. Where at the federal level, we have to pay for it, so we have to raise taxes."
There you have it folks. The reason why RomneyCare cannot be done at the federal level is because of the unique funding scheme for Mitt's health care plan. In fact, Massachusetts was the only state in the nation to receive the special Medicaid funds for the purposes of helping uninsured citizens. Which is why RomneyCare could not be replicated in other states or at the federal level. It was a unique case. Had Massachusetts not been receiving this money since the 1990s, Mitt Romney would not have created RomneyCare. The funding from the federal government makes RomneyCare possible and unique.
The fact that RomneyCare was paid for by funds that were already being provided by the federal government is not a trivial difference. It is a major one. In fact, it is a crucial difference. Johnathan Gruber knows that. And he should have known that's why RomneyCare cannot be done at the federal level unless additional taxes are involved. Instead, the Obama Administration and Johnathan Gruber had to continuously lie and deny that ObamaCare was a tax. Implementing taxes are necessary to make ObamaCare a reality. Had Obama been honest about this to the American people, ObamaCare would have died immediately.
That is why Obama and Gruber continually lie that RomneyCare and ObamaCare are the same. They are not the same on so many levels and for so many reasons. But the major and significant difference between ObamaCare and RomneyCare is the funding scheme.Jonathan Gruber arrogantly lied by omitting the fact the $400 million was money that the Federal Government had already given to Massachusetts. RomneyCare didn't rip off the federal government.
ObamaCare program did rip off the American people. People are now paying more in health care costs and in taxes. And Obama and Gruber lied to you about the true funding and costs of the program.