Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jonathan Gruber and abuse of power

I'm getting political because this is about morality. This touches on sins that, according to Catholic tradition and Scripture, "cry out to heaven for vengeance": oppression of the poor and defrauding the worker of his just wages. Not to mention a violation of the Eighth Commandment against bearing false witness. 

This man, this Professor Jonathan Gruber of MIT, this elite, arrogant academic who called the American people stupid time and again (watch the video), happily pocketed a cool six million of those taxpayers' dollars (suckers!) while admitting to deceiving and manipulating the public in order to force through Obamacare (watch the video), a scheme that has cost many working folks their health care plans and has raised premiums and deductibles through the roof. 

I repeat: For the privilege of perpetuating a massive fraud about which he openly brags, Gruber was paid $6 million dollars. Take a look:

The question isn't Why does Jonathan Gruber still have a job at MIT? (though it's a good question), but why is he still walking around free?

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Government has unlimited power and resources, which is why it is infinitely more dangerous than any corporation. Gruber is untouched because this was government work, and the most powerful people in the nation were totally on board with what he did (even if they now conveniently deny knowing the chap, which is laughable in this age of video proof). 

Corrupt government, unlike corrupt business, is almost never accountable. If one or more executives in the private sector had been caught committing such massive and systematic fraud while raking in millions, we know what would happen and how the press would be all over it. Think Enron and Bernie Madoff for starters. 

I guess my question is for those who have supported Obama and Obamacare. What do you think of this? What do you believe about the morality here? Do you believe, as Gruber stated, that the ends justify the means? That lying and scheming and obfuscating are necessary to get to the "good outcome" that will bring about wonderful things?

One of the reasons I write this blog is that I want a record for my children and grandchildren. When the world has gone haywire (and when hasn't it, really?), I want a written account of what I believed and why. This scandal is an injustice and I will use my very small voice to speak against it. I am on the record.

I am very much interested in the reactions of my readers, and especially those on the left. 


  1. I wish the video was at a slower speed. It's hard to comprehend fast talking people or fast moving images. Not all voters are dumb, just maybe half. (I'm thinking of the bell curve). Anyway, the affordable care act is working for me so far. My premium more than pays for my medication. I've chosen a plan in which I can keep my doctors. I have pre-existing conditions. It's not perfect, but buying a plan through the marketplace was a godsend for me. I wish I had a $6 million job, but I would feel bad about being deceitful. Heck, $1 million would come in handy. I wish I had a real job with benefits. I wish I had a real job.

    I can't even comprehend $6 million.

    It is wrong to abuse power.

    Guess someone can call MIT and ask them why Gruber is still there.

    There are lots of liers and cheats walking around free, but God allows it. I don't like it either.

    So, when is the next presidential election? One great thing about this country is that if you don't like the president, he'll eventually go away in a peaceful transfer of power. Sometimes we have to just wait it out and try not to barf in the meantime.(mean time?).

  2. Liar I believe is the correct spelling.

  3. Lena, it's an interesting question about calling MIT and asking why he is still there. I wonder if any of the major media has done so?

    I am glad you like Obamacare so far. The problem is that everyone wanted to find some way to help insure the uninsured, yet in this case the cure was worse than the disease, so to speak. For every one person helped (at least for now), there are more who have either lost their insurance, lost their doctors, or whose premiums and deductibles have gone through the roof (I raise my hand). Obamacare was like killing a gnat with an Uzi. But geniuses like Gruber know better, I guess.

    You are right that God allows all kinds of criminals to walk free (and honestly, I am not a proponent of white collar criminals being in prison, as that just costs us more money; it's better that non-violent criminals serve their sentences in more productive, beneficial, but still penitential ways). No doubt that God will bring good out of even the most heinous evil (there are worse evils than this that God permits). We have his promise on that. But we are still required to speak against injustice, even while acknowledging that even great sinners (and evil acts) will all be put at the service of God's plan.

    Next presidential election: Two years and counting. November 2016.

  4. Well, I wrote a big long response and the internet ate it. Ugh! The gist of it was we that I'm disgusted by the actions of this administration and firmly believe that if the shoe was on the other foot (i.e. Republicans were doing these things), the media would be fit to be tied and anyone involved would be drawn and quartered. Just sickening.

  5. I don't have anything to add but wanted to say "Bravo!" on an excellent post!

  6. Leila-
    First: I absolutely love your blog. I am a convert to Holy Mother Church, confirming this coming Easter. I have been practicing for roughly eighteen months.
    Previously I was left of the left-wing, who could sometimes be too conservative for my tastes. :) I was a Yellow Dog Democrat to the bone. I have since changed, massively (I just voted Republican for the first time...once, and it’s feels weird!). My wife and I are now in the middle of the spectrum, which makes Election Day more of a headache than it used to be and more than a little bit scary. That’s enough political background to put my response into perspective, I think. I’ll happily provide more, just ask!
    I could not watch the video, as my computer is slightly less cooperative than Lucifer himself, but you seem like the most trustworthy person I have never met, so your description will suffice. I think it is appalling what this man did (again, as you describe) and if anyone else willfully defrauded the People then they, too, should be prosecuted. I voted for President Obama twice, with a number of regrets. But I must disagree with your claim: “If one or more executives in the private sector had been caught committing such massive and systematic fraud while raking in millions, we know what would happen and how the press would be all over it.” You make it sound as if they would be held to account, that they would be prosecuted and be made to pay, serve time, or both. I’m struggling to think of one executive who has been prosecuted for the crash of ‘08. I’m struggling to think of any other large examples except for Enron and Madoff. The names that keep coming to mind are Roosevelt and Taft and their trust-busting. I think they worked for the government.
    Obamacare is not perfect and anyone who says that it is is fraudulent or deluded. Yet I keep trying to think of the reforms passed in the heavily Republican years between Clinton’s disastrous attempt and the push-through of Obamacare. I keep failing. To tell the honest truth: your light shines brighter than most that I have seen. Please enlighten me.

  7. Nathan, first, WELOME HOME!!! That is so exciting! What an occasion of grace! And yes, I'd love to hear more about your background. (My husband was a pro-choice agnostic who used to work for Democrats and even helped get Harry Reid elected the first time around, so I love political conversion stories as well as religious ones, and sometimes they go hand-in-hand.)

    You are far too kind and I don't think I can live up to your impression of me, ha ha, but I love that you are challenging me on this. I don't have an expert understanding of the crash of '08, but my limited understanding is that the bankers who made the loans that were predictably defaulted on were acting within the law, and in some cases were mandated to make those loans to folks who could not possibly pay them back. But I know there was more to it than that. The question is.... was there deception and fraud by those in the private sector? Deliberate? If so, then yes, we should find them and prosecute. I would assume that those on the left and right would have wanted to find the story there. So, I have to ask others to help me out: What or who was responsible for the '08 fall, and was there a way to hold people accountable for fraud?

    In this case, it's now all on the record. You can just google "Jonathan Gruber video" and watch him speak the words over and over. And watch the president and Pelosi deny either that they knew him, or that he was only "some advisor" even though they are also on video as praising him, by name, earlier.

    As for solutions... you are SO right. Nothing was forthcoming when the Republicans were in charge and it maddens me. However, while they did not help when things were heading for a cliff, at least they weren't the ones to actually PUSH it off the cliff. I think they could have and should have used the best and brightest minds and ideas to come up with a workable solution to the problems (tort reform, portability, etc.). Now, we are in deep doo-doo and I don't see a way out. If you google "Obamacare horror stories", you'll get really sad. So don't do it, ha ha. But gosh I feel so sorry for so many millions of people, and it's only going to get worse in '16. Hope there is still something that can be done.... Not sure that the Republicans have the guts to do it.

    1. I should have said, it's going to get worse in '15. Sorry!

  8. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that these people are so dishonest and so incompetent, yet they continue to get re-elected - not Jonathan Gruber but his buddies in government. I think the media play a huge role. It's true, if a Republican were in office, the media would be relentless in their attacks. Part of the problem is that people get sick of the negativity and the only way to get it to stop is to let Democrats run things, no matter how badly the Democrats do. I can't imagine where we'd be if it weren't for the alternate sources of information we have today. At least that information is helpful for people who take the time to seek it out.

  9. Sharon, totally agreed. If this were a Republican administration, the press would be screaming 24/7 about the corruption and fraud and lies and arrogance, etc. We'd never hear anything else. Amen to alternative sources of information! We can actually access the source directly, and that's actually how the man who uncovered the first video found it! He was so upset about his health care changing for the worse that he decided to find out everything he could about how this bill got passed, who was behind it, etc. He looked through hours and hours of video, and then he uncovered Gruber's boast. And when that got out, the more conservative members of the press found more and more. I wonder why the architects of this bill were not watched and reported on from the beginning, since these ivory tower Dems are affecting every last one of our lives down here in Peasantville with their big schemes. Sigh....

  10. I've lurked here for along time and will finally comment!

    The 2008 crisis was caused at least in part by corporate dishonesty. The banks were giving loans to people who they knew were probably not going to be able to repay them, and then selling off that debt to other parties as if it were legitimate investment income, and then the system inevitably crashed. My husband actually did some research into this for a university philosophy course he was teaching on social issues (he was discussing usury in this case). I can hunt around and ask him for the articles he used in his research.

    I don't know the details of Obamacare as we are in Canada, but if it was represented dishonestly then the people that did so need to be held accountable.

    I also disagree that businesses are more likely to be punished for corruption than governments. It seems to me that when businesses become large enough, they have enough money to basically buy politicians. For example, I f I remember correctly, the gardisil vaccine was legislated into many school systems by politicians who were funded by the makers of the vaccine. I would be willing to bet that any laws that were in place making it legal to give loans to people who couldn't repay them, or at usurious interest rates, were passed by politicians at the request of the banks who were funding them.

  11. I find this a bit funny since the ACA was paid for by getting rid of fraud. Guess fraud paid for it as well.

    I am still pro-ACA, but this is of course concerning.

  12. have to pay taxes, but we have to pay almost half our income as a small business? And Wall Street is "for" whomever is in power. They are amoral and not beholden to any political party.) However, the power of the government FAR outstrips the power of any corporation. And government's power and resources are unlimited. And government cannot go under. I bet that if there were videotapes of a corporate multi-millionaire talking, even bragging, about the fraud he perpetuated on the American people (or consumers), there would be investigations and prosecutions as soon as those videotapes started making the rounds, and as soon as his higher-ups in the corporation were also caught in lies about the fraud and what they knew. I just bet. But here? Nothing so far. I guess as of yesterday or the day before, Gruber lost his latest $400,000 contract (from Vermont?), although I think he walked away with over a grand. But considering how much he raked in, I don't think that is to be considered any real punishment.

    1. Who, what happened to the first part of my comment??

      Chelsea, I had asked what you mean by ACA being paid for? Is it paid for? I am pretty sure it is being paid for by higher premiums (with no end of that in sight). Corporations and insurance companies don't pay for anything, they simply pass costs along to us. That's how it works.

      Munchie Mommy, welcome! I will try to recreate what I said before it got eaten. I agree that there is TONS of corporate corruption. Loads of it. And yes, the corporations are in bed with government, for sure. That is why billionaire business like Facebook and GE and Google (Obama's cronies) don't pay any taxes, but we pay almost half our income as a small business. (The rest of what I wrote is above.)

  13. As to whether or not the banks WANTED to make bad loans. Well, I can't understand how that makes sense? You can find people on both sides making their case:


    And with Daily Kos, I am going to the FAR left:


  14. Honestly, I wasn't too surprised to hear about this. The Obama administration, regardless of what good it has done, does not like transparency. And academics like Gruber often have quite a low opinion of the average person. I don't see this as a crippling argument against the law itself, but the Obama administration certainly should not be working with people like this.

    The only part of this that actually surprised me was the denial by Pelosi of knowing who Gruber was (an obvious lie, and easily disproven), and the claim by Obama that Gruber never worked on their staff (a lie unless you're being really charitable). I know conservatives are used to thinking of Obama as a liar, but from what I can tell most of the "lies" politicians tell are just spin, half-truths, general ignorance, or badly-interpreted statistics and it's comparatively rare to see an undeniable lie like this.

    I guess the question we're left with here is whether Gruber's attitude is reflective of the general spirit behind Obamacare itself. I suppose you could make a case for that due to the lack of transparency in general. However, in the end we'll just have to evaluate what the law is doing for people and decide whether it's worth keeping, altering, or repealing. No, the ends don't justify the means, but that doesn't mean we should decide what to do with a law based merely on the sorts of people behind it.

    Personally, I have very mixed feelings about Obamacare so far. It seems to be helping some people and harming others. I don't want the formerly uninsurable to be uninsured once again, but I also don't like the idea that everybody should be forced to buy coverage from the insurance industry. I would've preferred a public option supported by tax dollars, instead of this Rube Goldberg machine of a law we've got right now.

  15. Chris, I think that's a good analysis, and I agree with most of what you said. I definitely agree that the law should not be done away with simply because of the liars behind it. It's just a bad, bad law that is harming more than it's helping and that is why it should be gone.

    You said this:

    "I don't see this as a crippling argument against the law itself, but the Obama administration certainly should not be working with people like this." It made me chuckle as I thought: "'People like this' IS the Obama administration. This IS who they are, and that's exactly why they work with the Grubers of the world."

    Meanwhile, is this more problems with transparency, or simply more lies? I don't think there is an end to it:


  16. 'People like this' IS the Obama administration. This IS who they are, and that's exactly why they work with the Grubers of the world

    I think that's a sweeping overgeneralization. Elitism is a problem within both parties (concerning education for the left and financial success for the right), but I wouldn't assume that everyone is guilty of it.

    Meanwhile, is this more problems with transparency, or simply more lies?

    Looks like someone fudged the numbers. It's hard to guess who was ultimately responsible for this, though. It's not like Obama/Burwell were looking at the raw numbers and figured out a clever way to get it to hit 7 million.

  17. Elitism is a problem within both parties (concerning education for the left and financial success for the right)

    Not sure this is accurate. The richest members of congress are Democrats. And, the number of uber-rich who are Democrats is astounding. Conservatives tend to be middle class folks, Middle America, small business owners, not financiers. But it's a common misunderstanding, based on the left's false narrative.

    Also, I am not sure what you mean by education? Do you think that liberals are more intelligent and/or educated than conservatives? I do think there is a tendency for those on the secular left to collect degrees, when many of their conservative peers are busy starting families and businesses.

    And the generalization is only based on six years of how Obama has conducted himself. The least transparent, the most crony-istic, the most secretive (even his adoring, slathering media have been critical of this secretive ways, even as he claims to be transparent). Just lots of deception and lies (and whipping up agitation between rich/poor, black/white, men/women), so why would we not associate him with people like Gruber? It's a natural fit. And again, even you admit that it appears that Pelosi, and yes, Obama, are lying about it. I just don't think they have an ounce of shame. I am not sure why the public tolerates any of it, but probably most don't even pay attention. Most would not know who Gruber (or even Pelosi) is. I am heartened by the election results, but we are still in a bad place with so much apathy.

    I think I just changed the subject to voter apathy? lol....

  18. Gruber is certainly a case of educational elitism. He thinks he's smarter than everyone, which justifies keeping things secret from people. That's the sort of thing I meant by educational elitism. Not just having degrees, but thinking that they make you better than everyone else. Plus, the academic world tends to skew pretty liberal in general.

    Plenty of Democrats are rich, but those who are tend not to look down on the poor in the same way that certain rich Republicans do. Some Republicans seem to have the idea that because some people can find a successful life through effort alone, that means that everyone can. Republicans often seem to subscribe to the just world fallacy, something that's a lot rarer on the left (the left has more of a problem with denying responsibility entirely as though our actions mean nothing at all).

    Maybe the apathy is because there's so little to vote for and so much to vote against. Even after this recent Republican victory, they are still an incredibly hated party. People were merely voting out Democrats they didn't like, not replacing with Republicans they did like.

  19. "Plenty of Democrats are rich, but those who are tend not to look down on the poor in the same way that certain rich Republicans do."

    I would say that their condescension to the poor (very paternalistic, very much driven by white liberal guilt) is outrageously overdone, and that is a form of soft bigotry ("oh, these poor African-American/Hispanic/uneducated masses! They aren't really as capable as we are... they need us to help them and tell them what they need, because we are so smart (educational elitism) and compassionate!"). Many in the poor communities are offended by it, greatly. It's like when the sex educators I debated with said that they (white, married, educated, stable, with children) would never use the word "marriage" with school children who were in disadvantaged neighborhoods, because that would be "judgmental". Even though they knew that promoting marriage and stable families would be the BEST thing for those kids' futures and their communities, the soft bigotry would not allow them to utter the "judgmental" word "marriage" in front of these poor kids. It's insulting, rude, condescending, obnoxious. I encounter it all the time. I actually have a visceral response to it.

    And a quick question, because you brought up an intriguing point: You said that "some" people can find success in life through effort alone. What do you think is the main ingredient for a successful life? And how do you define success?

    Again, I think I have gone off topic. ;)

  20. What do you think is the main ingredient for a successful life? And how do you define success?

    I probably used the wrong word, because I was really only talking about financial security in that sentence, despite the fact that I think there's a lot more to success than just that. I meant that many of the hardest workers will never rise above low-paying jobs, while others will climb all the way to the top.

    I will still answer your question about success, though. Broadly speaking, for me, I would like to finish life with a good education, good friends, a strong faith, a wife and a few sons and daughters, and enough economic security that we can live comfortably. There is a lot I can do to make this all more likely, and I already have an advantage over many because of the good circumstances I was born into. But I also know that there's some luck involved in all things. So much depends on our circumstances, the people we meet, and the curveballs that life chooses to throw at us.

    Of course, others have their own ideas of success, but I'm not sure if there's any one objective definition (I suppose we could think of salvation as the one true success, but that has as much to do with the next life as this one).

  21. Chris, fair enough! I appreciate the answer!

    I would say that the only tragedy in life is not to have become a saint (and that is a quote from a saint. Was it Aquinas? Someone help me out).

    So, to me, a successful life is a life of virtue. Rich or poor makes no difference. In fact, it's probably harder to live a virtuous life with a lot of money (Jesus said as much... simply too many temptations and the belief that we can do it on our own or that we have done it on our own, as if we are that amazing and special). That's hard for us modern Americans to understand and accept.

  22. PS: I am not implying that you want to be rich. I understand totally about wanting to have a comfortable home for your wife and children. :) That is a man's primary mission, to provide for the needs of his family. I like hearing that from a young man.

  23. In know many, many people whose lives have been saved by Obamacare.

  24. I repeatedly hear (on this site and in the world) scorn heaped on the Obama presidency for its lack of transparency, as if any president or leader in world history has been in love with the people knowing what happens behind closed doors. Sunlight may be the best disinfectant, but it also kills creativity. Nothing gets done in the open. We are a nation of over 300 million and looks at us: en masse, we discuss nothing and get offended by everything (except the Bubble; this place is calm). By the very nature of our government the decision-making is shrunken down to a miniscule slice of the population, and even that slice can’t discuss things as a body, hence committees and subcommittees (soon to be followed by micro- and nano-committees, then quantum committees). The decisions get made behind closed doors because when the doors open the ideas stop: no one wants to be lynched for voicing a possibility that doesn’t even see fruition. Pres. Obama has many secrets, so did Pres. Bush. Eisenhower, FDR, Lincoln, Washington… leadership involves secrecy because of the nature of leadership: entire populations cannot make laws, else no laws would ever be made. The Continental Congress was behind closed doors. Granted, the secrecy of rebellion is not the same thing, so take the Constitutional Convention. The best we can hope for on this Earth is to elect people who will remember the masses when their howls and pleas are silenced by closed doors.

    As to the ACA: I cannot stop vacillating. The more I discuss it, the more it becomes clear that with such an immense piece of legislation one cannot understand the entirety. Are people getting hurt by it? Yes they are (I’m deeply sorry about your situation, Leila). Are people being helped by it? Yes, they are. Are people fudging the numbers while discussing it? Yes, they are. Are people telling the truth? Yes, they are. Is answering your own questions a tired rhetorical device? Yes, it is.

    The media do what the media do (does? Is “media” still plural?) They are not adoring of Obama, only some of them are. Others excoriate him. Both sides have reasons and lack reasons (I’ll never forget “terrorist fist-jab”). Then, with a change of party rule, they switch! All sides report on other news stories and report claims. The accurate discernment is up to the viewer; Lord knows the reporters won’t do it! My wife continually reminds me that the world is in the hands of a loving God who listens to everyone. She has to repeat herself daily because every conversation ends with me lamenting the enormity of our problems and despairing as to the remedy. Then our parochial vicar said the same thing in his homily. God listens. The Church listens. Those two facts are so much more of a blessing than most people realize.

    If we had gone off-topic before, then I just hijacked the Bubble and took it for a joyride. But some of the themes that were cropping up stuck in my craw. Apologies.

  25. Johanne, and there are those whose lives have ended because of Obamacare. If more people, net, are harmed by Obamacare than saved, then is it a success? And, was there a way to save those people and insure the uninsured (who wanted to be insured) without destroying the health care of even more? I am seriously asking.

  26. Nathan, I agree with much of what you say. Not the part where it's implied that the media is sort of even-handed with both the left and the right. Not the mainstream outlets, not even close. But that's another discussion.

    The reason that Obama's lack of transparency is SO egregious is that he actually BOASTED time and again that his presidency was to be the most transparent ever. And judging from even the complaints of an otherwise adoring media (yes, still plural, ha ha), he has been the least transparent we've seen. And no one man should be allowed that much "creativity" (power) to mess with the lives of millions on something so important as health and life. It's just an incredible abuse of power.

  27. This is something I feel passionate about. The way Republicans acted during the healthcare debacle led me to changing my party affiliation to Independent because I was so embarrassed.

    The Republicans had plenty of chances to do something about healthcare. In my opinion they are selfish. We should all have the same access, regardless of costs. It shouldn't matter whether you have money or not.

    My family is self-insured. We paid $1700 a month before Obamacare. Now we pay $1200 a month for the exact same coverage and doctors.

    Before my illness, I was crazy over the $1700. Now I know that's a drop in the bucket for a serious illness. My insurance company paid $20,000 every time I sat in the chemo chair - 9 times. They have paid over $400,000 including after care. My out-of-pocket costs are around $4500 so far - that's for drugstore prescriptions, copays, gas, tolls and parking.

    Obamacare is not perfect and needs changes. However, it's a great start to fixing a huge problem that many of our leaders have refused to face. Hopefully, the next President will have the same courage and will go further with it.

    I've read that the buffoons in Washington want to try and repeal Obamacare. Not one word about what they would do instead.

  28. Liza, in my understanding, there were plenty of ideas, and Obama would not entertain any of them. Tort reform? Portability? Untying insurance policies from workplace? All of that and more. He did not listen. I'm not happy about the fact that those things were not implemented earlier, so I'm not a cheerleader for the hapless Republicans. I believe what you are telling me about your experience, but I have never heard that before. We are self-insured (and relatively healthy) and our prices have gone through the roof. Every day friends tell me that their premiums and deductibles are going way up, and there is much more to come. Are we all supposed to get Obama plans? And if we can't afford those? (We make too much for any subsidies, and really, all we want it a catastrophic plan, but that's illegal now.) It's good that you have kept your doctors, but again, that is not what I'm hearing from others. Choices are now severely limited. If everyone got to keep their plan and their doctors as promised, then why are so many people (millions) losing their doctors and the plans they wanted?

    And I have to point out that you did not address anything I wrote about. What about the original post? The deception, the lies, the fraud? The abuse of power? Again, Christians do not believe in an "ends justify the means" worldview. It's immoral. The ends do not justify the means.

  29. I did not mean to imply that the media parity was in the number of outlets; regardless of how many media outlets are liberal or conservative, they all have parity of action: they fawn over their own party and burn the other. There are some that are consistent and relatively unbiased, but they’re few.

    I’m forced to agree that Pres. Obama has bragged about transparency. No, he’s not that transparent. I’m just confused as to how this is different from any other politician saying what they need to in order to get elected (not that that’s right, just that it’s par for the course). No one was really discussing or demanding transparency until a short while ago. No one was asking for it. Some of this appears to be holding the president to a different standard based on claims that (to my knowledge) no one before him needed to make.

    I managed to watch the video. Yeah, that’s pretty sickening. What’s worse is that, like the Crash of 08, nothing from the video jumps out at me as illegal, per se. Revolting, despicable, deplorable, immoral, and just plain wrong any way you cut it. But the man didn’t lie to the American people (I don’t remember him speaking to us) and he didn’t lie to the people who paid his consulting fee. He didn’t do anything obviously illegal. I wish he did, then this would be easier. I think that MIT should fire him post-haste, I think that he shouldn’t be hired anywhere else, in academia or the private sector or in government. Yet, unlike when Mitt Romney said “I did nothing illegal” in sheltering his money in a tax haven, Gruber is not running for office. Not doing anything illegal is everything in a court of law (an honest one, at least.) What do we do when “legal” gets further and further from “right?”

  30. The fraud is awful. I'm very disappointed that part of Obamacare isn't for going after all the fraud that has been going on for years with Medicare. I wish they would go after all the companies that provide medical equipment that are overcharging by millions. The drug companies need change too. It's not right that some people are charged $1,000 for a shot and others are charged $200. As I said, it isn't perfect. It probably won't ever be perfect because I can't think of anything run by the government that is perfect.

    I think it's immoral to let people die because they can't afford healthcare. I think it's immoral that I got Cadillac healthcare and the waitress that lives down the street only has the option of going to one hospital instead of having access to everything I did.

    I have hope that Obamacare is the start and it will get better with time. I don't have hope that it will ever be perfect because I think that's impossible in our country and probably the world.

    My experience and the experience of my friends is different than yours. Perhaps it's because my state started the healthcare for all long before Obamacare came into existence. The insurance companies here lowered their premiums because they didn't want to lose business from people defecting for the subsidized care.

    We don't qualify for the subsidies either. It was a bitter pill I swallowed when I realized we weren't going to qualify but honestly, we can afford it. Would I rather use that money for a college fund or fancy vacations - yes but if my high premium helps someone else obtain medical treatment, that's better than fancy vacations for me.

    In my opinion, it's too soon to say Obamacare is failing. We need to give it chance. Going back to the way it was isn't the answer.

  31. This is may be dark and paranoid, but I wonder if the reason the fraud isn't addressed is because it goes so far that most of the companies would be shut down and we'd have an extreme shortage of medical supplies and drugs.

  32. Yes, abuse of power is wrong.

    Any one of us with a phone if we really cared enough could call MIT and question Gruber's employment there. We may not get an answer or like the answer we get, but we can call instead of complaining about it here. Or we could call and have something new to complain about.

    You've heard the saying, "Sometimes you're the pigeon, sometimes you're the statue." Well, when it has come to health insurance over the years, I have been the pigeon, then the statue while others were the pigeon.With the Affordable Care Act, I am the pigeon again and others are the statue. In other parts of life, I'm the statue.

    I don't know how to make everything perfect for everyone as it should be.

    Regarding transparency in the White House, The Atlantic recently had an article about it. By recent, I mean in the past year or so as I tend to read issues months after publication.

    So thank you, LizaMoore and others, who pay high premiums so the rest of us can get much needed health care. Hopefully we're all getting what we need. I'm sure we are all not, but I am thankful for the ACA.

    I don't know how to make health care fair and affordable to everyone in every single situation or in every life stage. There are some things about the ACA that I don't care for. In a few months when I do my taxes, I'll get a better overall picture of my total cost and refund (if any). I do know if I didn't take care of myself and my health I may be -- I don't even want to think about it.

    Yes, my premiums are going up, but my office visit co-pays are going down.

  33. Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. It's very hard to say what will happen. I hope it somehow turns into a wonderful program that benefits all, but my feelings pretty much echo another friend, who put it this way:

    "You can't add millions of non-paying customers without completely destroying the system for everybody. While Jon Gruber is yucking it up about deceiving "stupid voters," our health care system is collapsing under his brilliant plan. Very few people are going to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars and devote 12 years of post-secondary school for the reward of making $150,000 a year working 12 hours a day. Fact: There's not enough money in the whole world to give everyone the best medical care. There just isn't. We've always had somewhat of a two-tier medical system in America. The difference is that now the middle class will be in the lower tier instead of the upper."

  34. Nathan wrote: "I’m just confused as to how this is different from any other politician saying what they need to in order to get elected (not that that’s right, just that it’s par for the course)."

    Remember was supposed to be about positive change from the corruption in Washington. People said, "He's too new on the political scene to run for President." But others said, "Get him into the White House before he gets too corrupted in Washington."

    Well, the joke was on us; he really deserves an Oscar for his performances. I voted for Obama for the Senate and in his first presidential election. I read both of his books. Then I looked at his actions, especially as it regards abortion. His actions did not match his written words or spoken words AT ALL. I learned an important lesson about style and substance when it comes to politics.

  35. Barbara, you are right about that. Remember the big Grecian columns and the adoring masses, and Obama speaking (always on teleprompter) about all his utopian dreams. It just gives me the willies:

    "I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth."

    Ick. All style, no substance. Reminds me of how quickly I renounced my vote for Clinton the first time (and I had registered Democrat). It took me until his first State of the Union address to realize my mistake, and what a liar he was. But frankly, I'd take Clinton over Obama any day. At least Clinton did was able to be humble after his big mid-term defeats and was able to reach across the aisle and work with the other side. And many good things were done.

  36. I respect the opinion of an MIT professor way more than the opinion of the typical American voter. I think we've all seen those interviews on TV, the ones where the average "man on the street" doesn't know the answer to simple questions about current events. Health care reform needed the d to be done and the GOP wasn't doing it.

  37. Count me as another person who may soon be adversely affected by Obamacare. Five years ago we moved 200 miles west for a better job for my dh. One big plus of the job was the top-quality health insurance that would help our growing family (one of the maligned "cadillac plans". Recently the employer (I can't name them here, because this issue is still being investigated) has discovered that they may have been going against some hidden regulations in Obamacare. If the problem is fixed (and the employer is definitely intending to follow the law), all our premiums will go up substantially, while the coverage goes down. We already live a very simple life--few gadgets, little spent on entertainment, almost all home-cooked food, etc.). And we have barely any retirement savings (not through extravagance). So, this could mean we have to start watching every penny. All so someone else could have free birth control, I guess.

  38. Connie, respectively, I disagree that Obamacare is about birth control. It's about people not having any coverage at all which meant they didn't go to the doctor when they had a medical issue. They would turn up at the emergency room when it was too late for the doctors to do anything and they would die.

    There were people who had coverage but the insurance companies put caps on how much they would pay. If the cap was reached before they were cured or had everything they needed, too bad for them.

    Uninsured people using the emergency room as their primary care doctor costs us all more than if we help them with their insurance coverage.

    I'm not willing to live my privileged life while people die because I don't want to pay more. As I said, it isn't perfect but it's a great start to fixing a shameful problem in this country.

  39. "I respect the opinion of an MIT professor way more than the opinion of the typical American voter." So, lies and deception are the way to go? The ends justify the means? Please clarify. Sounds like you think we should simply let the elites rule the peasants and the unwashed masses.

    And, a lot of the "man on the street" interviews that are so incredibly appalling are filmed on university campuses. Higher education does not equate to wisdom, that is for sure, and often times it does not even equate to knowledge.

  40. LizaMoore, as someone who lives in a border state with an incredible number of uninsured non-citizens, I can assure you that no one was dying in the streets before Obamacare. And people still used the ER as their first stop, even with Obamacare as law. The only big difference is that now, as my friend said, the middle class will go to the bottom tier of the "two-tier" system. It actually makes me angry every time I have to go to the pediatrician for a well-check and there is no copay!! For the privilege of no copay, I get to pay $5000 more a year in premiums. I'd rather pay the copay, thanks. I WANT to pay the copay. Heck, I'd be happy to pay for the whole visit and just have catastrophic insurance for my family, but it's illegal. But yes, I can get free birth control. And yes, that was a HUGE part of Obamacare. Free contraception and sterilization, because at base, Obama and his folks are social engineers and radical feminists. We have been told again and again that women cannot compete equally in the economy until and unless they have reproductive freedom (abortion and free contraception). This was huge step for them in trying to secure that. They are true believers, and I can't knock them for that! They have the courage of their pro-abortion, radical feminist convictions (even willing to take the Little Sisters of the Poor to court), which is more than I can say for those on our side.

    1. Where I live people were dying and still are dying as Obamacare didn't go far enough.

      I don't care about the birth control. I'm much more interested in the people that need chemo and can't get it or are told they have to get another drug other than what their doctor ordered because of expense. I care about the parents whose kids have epilepsy and can't get the brain scans they need.

      My insurance plan covers birth control with a co-pay. I know nothing beyond that because I'm Catholic and don't use birth control. My faith isn't at risk. I'm not going to hell because the insurance plan covers it and other people take advantage of that benefit.

  41. LizaMoore, I'm all for people being able to get the healthcare they need, I just don't think Obamacare accomplished that. I was unable to afford health insurance for many years while I was single, so I agree that something needed to be done. I just think the wrong thing was done. If the gov't is serious about containing costs, which was one of the primary concerns, why did they insist that (nearly) everyone has to pay for birth control, sterilization, and early abortions--even though these are usually lifestyle, not healthcare, issues? And how much (of our) money have the feds spent defending the HHS mandate? This is political correctness (and immorality) at everyone's expense.

    Some things like caps on payments or rules about pre-existing conditions are just good business for insurance companies. They can't run if they are not making any money. I would prefer to see charities that specifically help people with those issues, rather than having the gov't mandate that insurance companies have to do things which will cause them to lose millions of dollars, then raise everyone else's premiums to cover it. It would be a much more efficient way to go about helping the poor IMHO. Or give the money to states and let them improve their state-run healthcare options for the poor.

    Many, many working families were hurt by this legislation.

  42. LizaMoore, what were they dying of that they are not dying of now? People still cannot get chemo treatments or what their doctors ordered, as cancer patients who have had their plans deemed illegal cannot get to their trusted doctors and hospitals anymore. So, people may still be dying, but now it's because of Obamacare. So how are we better off except that people who used to have (and pay for) their own insurance can't anymore? As for birth control co-pays, you should not have any. I am not sure why you do, but that is not legal now. And the issue about the morality of insurance and birth control is not that you or I don't access that benefit (that is fine), it's about the government forcing Catholics and Catholic-owned businesses to PAY for that benefit. It's what all the lawsuits are all about, not whether or not you or I personally access a birth control benefit.

    I agree that there needs to be reform. I am mad that the Republicans didn't act when they had a chance. I think tort reform, portability, and untying insurance from employer is a great place to start. Why did Obamacare not touch that? And honestly, I remember someone once saying that we all seem to want 21st century healthcare for 1960s prices (when the expenses were mostly linens and IV equipment, etc.). It's complicated. And Obamacare (with it's 22,000 pages of regulations that no one knows how to access or understand, so everyone is afoul of the law) just made it worse.

  43. "Uninsured people using the emergency room as their primary care doctor costs us all more than if we help them with their insurance coverage."

    Setting aside the fact that this is still happening, what do we do with so many more people accessing their primary care physicians when there are fewer and fewer of them and since many are retiring or quitting because of Obamacare? How will the system look then, and what will the ERs look like with fewer PCPs? Obamacare is full of unintended consequences which may make us all long for the old system (which sucked, but was better than what's coming).

    1. Meaning, there are fewer and fewer primary care physicians, not patients (if that was unclear).

  44. I honestly believe that with Obamacare, as with so many other massive social programs, people like it because they like the idea that someone "did something". Just because someone "did something" doesn't mean it's a good thing, or that it will help in the long run. But people cheer things on just because it looks like there was movement, or that "someone cares".

    A social program at the massive, unwieldy, unaccountable federal level often ends up making people feel good about things that do more harm than good. Things that if done at the level of a private business would have sunk the business. The only difference with government is that bad programs live on and on and on, because there is no end to tax resources to keep them going.

  45. I don't lies or deception but have come to expect it from people in government, business and religion. People tell pollsters that they don't like politicians that lie, but lying politicians continue to get elected. The ends can justify the means. It depends on the situation. If I were hiding Jews from the Nazis, lying to them would be justified. Christians believe in the same concept. They justify God's inaction toward evil by saying he has a mysterious plan to bring about a greater good.

  46. Night Cruller, just because we expect sin doesn't mean we accept it. I expect that most kids will cheat on schoolwork at one time or another. It is never acceptable or honorable. The fact that we accept politicians' sliminess so easily is part of why we get the politicians we do.

    And this: "The ends can justify the means. It depends on the situation." Not in the Christian worldview. For an act to be moral, both the means and the ends (and the circumstances) must be moral. That is Morality 101, and the acceptance of "ends justify means" is why we are in such a sorry shape. Anyone could think his or her cause is "good enough" to cheat, lie and steal for it, and maybe kill, no? What stops them? Nothing but the moral law.

    If you could save 50 innocents by killing just one, are you morally permitted to kill that one innocent? We've approached this type of question on the blog before...


  47. I'm gonna go ahead and disagree. I recall a movie where a man was being tortured to death by being burned alive. This man's friend shot and killed him to spare him from this horrible fate. I considered this a merciful act. Better than allowing him to be incinerated alive and letting some God who may or may not exist to sort things out.

  48. You are disagreeing with the Christian position, just to be clear. It's not my opinion, it's a tenet of the moral law. But of course I agree that the desperation of the friend to end his friend's suffering could (and likely would) mitigate the sin of killing him, but that is always God's call. Even in things that look like straight up evil sins, it's God's call to read the heart of the person doing the act. It's our job as Christians to understand the difference between right and wrong (and speak it clearly). That way, we are not culpable. Here is a post about how we are to serve the good, not effect (bring about) the good:


    One more question, if you don't mind: If the friend in your scenario were able to end the other friend's suffering by killing a third innocent person (one not being tortured), would that be moral? Kill the third person quickly and be assured that the torturers would stop?

    Also, you said "some God who may or may not exist". I made the assumption that you were a Christian, but I am now sensing that you aren't. Could you clarify your position (are you Catholic? Christian?). It helps me know my audience and formulate my thoughts better. :)

  49. I'm not big on using labels for myself, but agnostic would be the closest word to describe my beliefs. The situation you raise is a difficult one. I suppose it would be acceptable if the innocent person consented to die. It would just be more evidence against the existence of a loving god. Allowing someone to be mentally tortured like that is not right. I don't see God sending any angels to comfort that person. If there is a moral law, people should focus on the spirit of that law and not the letter.

  50. Thanks for the clarification about your beliefs; it makes more sense. (And in my scenario, no, the person would not consent to being killed, and even if he did, it would still be wrong for another party to do it.)

    For me, I've never had a problem with reconciling evil committed by men (free will) with a loving God (one great saint, Teresa of Avila, has said that from the perspective of Paradise, the worst suffering in life will seem like a bad night in a bad inn. And there is no suffering we could endure that Christ did not also endure and defeat.

    Were you raised Catholic?

    1. Yikes, no close parenthesis! Sorry, my OCD friends!! Wish there were an edit button....

  51. I am genuinely curious and don't know the answers to the following:
    What is the actual content of the deception about Obamacare? What was the actual lie that is causing this scandal?
    Was it actually Gruber who lied, or the Obama administration? I thought that he was hired to estimate costs, not to sell the ACA to voters?
    The video link doesn't answer these questions.

  52. After she fell off her donkey and injured her leg St. Teresa of Avila asked God how he could let that happen, God said "That is how I treat my friends." in reply Teresa said "And that is why you have so few of them!" Bad things happen to man that weren't caused by man, e.g.plagues, tsunamis etc. Nothing loving about that.Some people suffer so much that it drives them mad. No angels came to comfort them like they supposedly did with Jesus in the desert and Gethsemane.
    I didn't have any formal religious training as a child.About the only time we went to church was for funerals.

  53. That's another St. Teresa quote that is beloved by Catholics! Yes, the saints suffer... redemptively. And yes, physical evil (tsunamis, plagues, etc.) is caused by sin. The Fall of man, Original Sin, brought both moral and physical evil into the world. But if evil were the last word, you'd be right. However, evil is not the last word. "A bad night in a bad inn." You should read more of the works of St. Teresa of Avila. Brilliant woman, transcendent saint. We are all called to it, actually. We are all called to be saints.

  54. How can physical evil be caused by sin? There was suffering and death long before man appeared on Earth. Most species that ever existed were extinct before man was around. What kind of wonderful creation is that?

  55. It's a great question, and I think you are bringing in the question of evolution and how that fits in. I have a friend who knows much more about this than I do, and years ago I posed a similar question to her and she postulated:

    "One thought: It's possible that when God created animals, they were not meant to be eternal. They do not have souls. They die--they died in pre-history, and they die now. When, as Genesis tells us, God breathed His own breath into Adam's nostrils, that represents the moment (perhaps) that God, using pre-existing animal life, created MAN as a rational being, in His own image, with an immortal soul. Man and the animals were separated this way, and perhaps evolution was the mechanism to prepare an animal to become MAN when God breathed divine life into him. In this way of thinking, there is no contradiction being dying animals and God's original plan for immortal human beings. God warned Adam that disobedience would mean death--he would become, once again, like the animals."

    As for the theological part of it all (the part that speaks salvation to us, and that we need to know since we all can't be scientists, and I don't mean that snakily), please start here:


  56. Thank you for your responses and reading suggestions.

  57. Sorry to be a pest but I thought of another question. If animals, plants etc. are not meant to be eternal, then when people are resurrected on a new Earth, wouldn't that new Earth be rather barren and sterile without other lifeforms? Like the surface of the moon.

  58. You are not a pest! I appreciate the thoughtful questions. The new earth will definitely have animals and plants and be teeming with life. Whether or not they are the same animals who have died before is something we don't know.

  59. Munchie Mommy, I don't know if we can begin to know all of the things that we were deceived about (the bill was monstrously long, and no one read it, save a handful of Americans, including my lawyer friend Dorinda of BDF, and she was the one who uncovered the abortion coverage that of course was promised not to be there -- that is one lie among many). We know that the specific deception he was talking about in his videos was the idea that the ACA really is a tax, and that the cost really does get passed on to the consumer, and that the healthy will be paying more for the sick, etc. All the stuff that was sold another way. It took the US Supreme Court to expose that in fact the ACA is a tax (the individual mandate, which has been waived for many thousands of Obama's buddies). Obama surely lied, and so did Pelosi and the others. They knew the American people did not want this thing forced on us in a rush, no one knowing what was in it, so they lied and deceived from the get go ("If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor", "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan", "this is not a tax", "there will be no taxpayer funded abortion", etc.). Gruber was more than a numbers guy, he was the one who wrote the bill, essentially, and he was also the architect of the Massachusetts bill as well, which had come before and which he talks about in some of the videos you can find online. He boasts that that was manipulated to get past the stupid voters as well.

    I am looking forward to hearing what Gruber has to say when he testifies before a Congressional committee in a couple of weeks. We should all be watching.

  60. Amen, LizaMoore, Amen. The Affordable Care Act is a great step in the right direction. Health care is not a luxury. It is a right. And that is consistent with Catholic social teaching. Our family pays $1900 per month in health care premiums, more than our mortgage. I don't complain. That's what health care costs. We need to provide health care to all, and if those who can pay for their health care pay more so that others can have coverage, that is fine by me. There is NOTHING I feel more strongly about than the right of every person to have access to health care. And in America, where we have sophisticated health coverage in most parts of the country, everyone should have access to it. The ACA is far from perfect, but it is better than what we had before. Middle class families are finding themselves paying more. My family pays more. No surprise. This has happened wherever mandates have passed at the state level. Some people are "worse off" after ACA. Again, no surprise. I guess I am not that upset about all the "deceit" and "lies" about the program. It didn't come out the way it was promised. Duh. That's true of everything politicians promise. George Bush the senior "lied" when he said he was pro-life. George W. Bush "lied" when he said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He also "lied" about what No Child Left Behind would do for school children. Bill Clinton "lied" about numerous things, and of course he lied for real under oath as well. This is just politics. Gruber's mocking and condescending tone in referring to American voters is awful and sinful. But I am not at all riled up about it. I just think to myself, WWPFD? What would Pope Francis do? I don't think Pope Francis would be worried about how Americans were allegedly "duped" by Gruber. And I think Pope Francis would DEFINITELY be unimpressed about the complaints of most middle class Americans about our struggles to pay our health premiums. Pope Francis would want Government to respond to the basic human right of health care. And I assume he wouldn't be too worried about all the ways it was going wrong, and instead focus on the uninsured it was reaching. Those are just my thoughts.

  61. Thanks for your thoughts. They are obviously very different from my own. I think a great many citizens are terribly disturbed about being lied to on such a massive scale, and on something that affects us so personally and profoundly (our family's health and financial well-being). For some, the lies that got this monstrosity passed cost them their lives. There are ways to go about providing health care without destroying the entires system. Pope Francis is not in the nitty-gritty of policy in America. If he were to look up "Obamacare horror stories" on google, he might well be in sympathy with those people who have lost so much at the hand of our "betters".

    I am glad you can afford to pay $1900 a month for premiums. Many middle class folks cannot. But at least all is well with you and that's what matters, right?

  62. And this:

    "The ACA is far from perfect, but it is better than what we had before."

    According to whom?

    All those new senators and congressmen/congresswomen who won in the November election campaigned specifically against Obamacare. So, who says it's better than what we had before? Not for the people I know, and not for the voters.

  63. Leila, what President hasn't lied? Obviously, I'd prefer a government that doesn't lie, cheat and steal. I don't know of any administration in this country that didn't engage in unethical practices. Governments throughout history all over the world are the same.

    I can't figure out why people are acting like President Obama is the first government leader that said something and did something else. They all do that. It's been going on since the beginning of time.

    I vote for the person who will do least evil and harm. Sometimes that person is republican, democrat or independent. I don't vote based on how they voted on abortion. I vote for the person who I think does the most to help women not have a reason to have an abortion. If women have what they need, they won't need to abort their child.

  64. My point is not that I am doing well with my coverage. This isn't about "all is well with me and that's all that matters." Not at all. My point is that I am making the necessary sacrifices in our family budget to pay the increased cost of coverage without complaining about it. It costs us dearly to pay for our health care. As I said, more than our mortgage. Which is in part why we do not have some home improvements we need, etc. What I think matters is getting health care to those who did not have it and cannot afford it, and it also means middle class Americans are paying more. It is a very difficult and complex problem, and I agree with you about that point. There is no easy fix to the very high cost of health care and the incredible needs of Americans. I think there is over-consumption as well. You made a comment about the fact that well child care has no co-pay. I guess I don't know what type of coverage you had before the ACA was passed, but I was taking my first child to the doctor in 1999, and there was no co-pay for well child care back then either, which was a long time before the ACA was passed. My co-pay back then was only $20 for office visits, which was not charged for well child visits for my kids or annual physicals for me. At least from my experience, that dynamic has nothing to do with the ACA.

    The horror stories about people losing their lives and their inability to afford their old plan, or not being allowed to keep it . . . I understand that those are real problems happening to real people, and I don't mean to minimize that. I really don't. But before ACA there were also real people who could not get coverage at all that had these problems. I believe that there is an obligation of those with the means to afford their coverage to pay more so that people who cannot can have coverage. From conservative talk radio, I get the sense that there is such incredible outrage that - as your friend put it - the middle class is now down there with the poor in the "bottom tier" experiencing the inability to get and afford health coverage. Why is there so much outrage now that it is happening to the middle class when no one seemed to care when it was the working poor? I'm just suggesting another way of looking at the problem, even assuming your friend's comment is accurate, which of course I don't think that it is. There are individual "horror stories" just like there were individual "horror stories" with any reform. But before the ACA, entire groups of people did not qualify for Medicaid and yet could not get coverage. This overhaul has changed that, and I think it is a good thing. I understand your position and that we disagree, but contrary to your somewhat caustic comment, I don't care only about me.

  65. Most politicians lie, LizaMoore, but as far as I can remember, none so easily as Mr. Obama. Even the Weapons of Mass Destruction "lie" was not a lie, because everyone in the intelligence field and in Congress believed it, too, and it's since been proven true.

    And this:

    "If women have what they need, they won't need to abort their child."

    First, that is not always true, especially if you are talking simply about financial things. And who gives the most support to pregnant women in need? The crisis pregnancy centers and the pro-life movement. We have INCREDIBLE programs and free support, long after baby is born. But who wants to actually make Crisis Pregnancy Centers illegal and shut them down? Democrats. The Left. How could anyone who is pro-life vote for the abortion pushers, who also shut down any attempts of Catholics to help -- REAL help, on all levels, financial, emotional, spiritual, material, etc.

    I will never understand.

  66. "Why is there so much outrage now that it is happening to the middle class when no one seemed to care when it was the working poor?"

    Precisely because now there is more people suffering, not fewer. That's the point. I would gladly pay more if Obamacare actually, truly helped more than it hurt. I don't believe in supporting something that "sounds good" and yet really helps very few and hurts a lot. I see that on the left all the time. If it sounds compassionate, if it sounds "nice", if it sounds like we are helping (because we care more!), then we support it. Honestly, my brain does not work like that. If the ACA were a private business, it would have crashed and burned and never seen the light of day, because it's a stinker and it's only going to get worse.

    And yes, the sudden lack of co-pay is because of Obamacare. I had a $35 co-pay before, but now anything "preventative" (well-checks for kids, well-women care, and of course contraception and abortifacients and sterilizations) is to be provided at no charge to me, no co-pay. This kicked in when my insurance company had to comply with the mandates, and also when they jacked up my premiums, so I not only get no savings from the co-pay disappearance, I also get no options to do a medical savings account or get a catastrophic plan. Less freedom, less choice, more money -- sounds like a plan only a bureaucrat could love, or those on the political left. It is frustrating.

  67. This is the kind of thing that is happening to the middle class. Delaying treatment for serious issues, now more than ever because of financial considerations (not true for the poor).


    "New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, admitted this week that congressional Democrats should not have passed Obamacare in 2010 because it didn’t benefit most of the middle class."

    Thanks, Chuck, but now you tell us? Sigh.

  68. To the person who commented that she gladly pays more to help those who previously were uninsured: perhaps you should have, pre ACA, given that extra money to a Catholic hospital for care of the indigent if you felt so strongly about it. Forcing others to give to "charity cases" through higher taxes (or in this case, higher premiums) is not very charitable.

  69. Unknown, that is an excellent point. I have been saying for years that the IRS takes donations. Honestly, they do. If all those on the left who don't feel that they pay enough and would gladly pay more (esp. the Hollywood celebrity mouthpieces), they can donate to the IRS directly, no joke, and think how many hundreds of millions they could send to the government coffers!

  70. Here's an example of how taxing for charitable causes is actually damaging to society. Say I support my elderly mother by sending her $500 every month so she can live comfortably. My taxes (or insurance premiums) go up $700 per month and I just can't afford to give her the money anymore. I tell her she has to get food stamps instead. The government has completely taken away our ability to fulfill our familial obligations! The thing that our Christian faith calls us to do has been taken from us by force! In Europe, where taxation is very high to "make everything equal," charitable donations are just a fraction of what they are in America.

  71. Also, one person above said her premium went down considerably. Nobody asked but I wonder if it was because she is being supplemented by fellow taxpayers. That is the only reason I can fathom for a premium to go down post-ACA.

  72. "The government has completely taken away our ability to fulfill our familial obligations! The thing that our Christian faith calls us to do has been taken from us by force!"

    Unknown, this is exactly right!! As a family who contributes to the care of a mother-in-law who is not able to care for herself, I totally concur. It makes you wonder if the government actually wants us to be totally dependent on government help?

    And yes, I'd like to know as well. That was the first I'd heard that premiums have gone down, and it makes me curious as to why.

  73. Yes, Leila. The (progressive) government wants us to be totally dependent on government help, because will you vote for the person who threatens to take it away once you decide you can't live without it?

  74. I haven't asked my insurance company why the premiums have gone down. I assume it's to compete with the other insurance companies.

  75. That's weird only because everyone else's premiums have gone up. And if insurance companies were even able to stay at the same rates, they'd be plenty competitive just by that fact alone. If you ever find out the reason, let us know.

    Blessed Advent and if anyone reading this could please pray for my mother-in-law. She is possibly in her final days/hours.


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