Add Chuck Todd to the incredibly small list of news anchors to treat Jonathan Gruber’s comments without kid gloves.
Sunday morning, the “Meet The Press” host battled HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, telling her the comments seem to confirm many suspicions of conservatives from the outset of Obamacare.
“He’s playing into every fear that many conservatives have had about this bill. That it’s not transparent, that there are things in it that people don’t know. This certainly can’t help the credibility gap,” said Todd.
“I have to start with how fundamentally I disagree with his comments about the bill and about the American people. Since I’ve been at the department, one of the things I focused on is transparency, making sure all our numbers come out whether good or bad. The other thing is the law is based on the issues of transparency and belief in the American people and choices in the marketplace,” said the HHS Secretary.
Burwell went on to (apparently) talk up the American people’s intelligence, telling the NBC News host that over a million people have done “window shopping,” noting they’re comparing based on issues such as “deductibility” and “premiums.”
“When you give the American people to make the right choices for themselves, they’re going to do that. From the issue of the consumer to the fact that we have put out information so that people can see what providers are receiving from pharmaceuticals,” said Burwell.
“He said spaghetti at the wall, and he said that the week the health care law passed. Is that what this bill is? To see what works at what doesn’t?” Todd added, echoing the famed words of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“This law is a piece of legislation that’s about three fundamental things, and these are things that have bipartisan agreement. Affordability, access and quality. That’s what the American people want. And, actually, there’s bipartisan agreement,” she said. “The bill has a lot of different pieces. you touched on many of them — people know about them, whether closing the medicare doughnut hole. There are 8 million american seniors that benefited from that $11 billion. There are so many parts of this law that target those three fundamental things.”
“Is he welcomed back as a consultant?” Todd shot back.
“Certainly, right now, in terms of the work that we’re doing at HHS, we’re doing our work and focusing on what we are doing and our modeling…” said Burwell.
“So he’s not welcome back?” Todd asked again.
“With regard to Mr. Gruber and his comments, I think I’ve been clear. That’s something we disagree with,” added Burwell.