Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber convinced President Barack Obama to create the individual and employer mandates in the health care law, which Obama originally opposed as a presidential candidate.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, an obscure but influential left-wing group called the Herndon Alliance approached the campaigns of Obama and fellow Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards to get all three major Democrats on board with health care reform. The candidates came up with differing plans. Of the three, Obama positioned himself as an opponent of mandates.
The Illinois senator sparred with Edwards over the issue at a January 2008 debate and even ran an anti-Hillary ad that said “Hillary Clinton’s attacking, but what’s she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can’t afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don’t.”
Paul Krugman’s Feb. 4, 2008 New York Times column cited MIT professor Jonathan Gruber’s analysis as evidence that Obama’s plan, with its lack of mandates, was inferior to Clinton’s plan.
“Mr. Gruber finds that a plan without mandates, broadly resembling the Obama plan, would cover 23 million of those currently uninsured, at a taxpayer cost of $102 billion per year,” Krugman wrote. “An otherwise identical plan with mandates would cover 45 million of the uninsured — essentially everyone — at a taxpayer cost of $124 billion. Over all, the Obama-type plan would cost $4,400 per newly insured person, the Clinton-type plan only $2,700…And that’s why many health care experts like Mr. Gruber strongly support mandates.”
After Obama won the presidential election in November 2008, he added Gruber to his transition team. The New York Times later reported that Gruber became “Mr. Mandate” on the Obama health care reform team. Obama finally announced his support for the mandate in July 2009, the very same month that he met personally with Gruber in the Oval Office. Obama’s decision was made during a series of Obamacare-designing White House meetings, of which Gruber was present at five.
“It is his research that convinced the Obama administration that health care reform could not work without requiring everyone to buy insurance,” the Times reported in 2012, when Gruber was publicly hoping the Supreme Court would uphold the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which it eventually did.
Princeton sociologist Paul Starr even said that when it comes to Gruber and the individual mandate, “it’s his baby.”
Obama has tried to distance himself from Gruber, who infamously called the American people stupid and detailed the political deception that went into Obamacare’s design. “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.
But a video unearthed Monday by American Commitment’s Phil Kerpen showed that Obama admitted to having “stolen ideas liberally” from Gruber as early as 2006.