The New York Times wants America to ignore Jonathan Gruber. Pay no attention to that architect behind the curtain!
Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters noted earlier today that a Times editorial on Jonathan "stupid voters" Gruber claims that the MIT economist was not an important player in the law's creation. The Times now insists that "In truth, his role was limited." The trouble is, Times reporters and columnists have paid quite a bit of attention to Gruber and the importance of his role in the creation, passage and defense of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, during the past five years.
In January 2010, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation studied the draft language in what ultimately turned into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what came to be known as Obamacare. His two most important findings: 1) Obamacare would encourage divorce while discouraging marriage; 2) Individuals and couples earning what most would consider to be nice but certainly not opulent incomes — especially those aged 50 and above — would pay disproportionately high premiums, while those making just a few thousand dollars less per year would, after subsidies, pay far less. Yours truly has made these points subsequently on several occassions (examples here, here, and here).
Well glory be, almost four years later, acting as if they're breaking some kind of new ground, Katie Thomas, Reed Abelson and Jo Craven McGinty at the New York Times have discovered that "the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s." Imagine that. Even then, the Times trio pegged the suffering Obamacare is inflicting to gross income and not net — and the difference is stark. Excerpts, beginning with a weak headline, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
On Sunday, the editorialists at the New York Times claimed that President Barack Obama merely "misspoke" when he dishonestly promised the American people that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" to get Obamacare passed.
Sunday evening for Monday's print edition, reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas carried heavy buckets of water on behalf of Obama and his administration. The headline: "Under Health Care Act, Millions Eligible for Free Policies." It took the Times pair 21 paragraphs to inform readers that the "free" plans have annual out-of-pocket cost limits of $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. They never described how the deductibles or copays work, and never noted that taxpayers are funding the subsidies. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
New York Times reporters Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas feared for the consequences of a world without Obama-care on Saturday's front page: "A Health Law At Risk Gives Insurers Pause." The Times quoted nine people, from insurance executives to liberal activists, who suggested that a defeat for Obama-care at the Supreme Court would be harmful for U.S. health care, compared to only one who welcomed the prospect, treating that side as a vast minority, even though 26 states have sued to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation. (Another quote was deemed neutral.)
Abelson has trod lightly over this ground before, in a December 23, 2009 story, pointing out flaws in the Dartmouth study, but this is the first Times story that challenges the findings root and branch. This after years of Times reporters and writers promoting the study, itself heavily promoted by Orszag.
In selling the health care overhaul to Congress, the Obama administration cited a once obscure research group at Dartmouth College to claim that it could not only cut billions in wasteful health care spending but make people healthier by doing so.
Wasteful spending -- perhaps $700 billion a year -- "does nothing to improve patient health but subjects you and me to tests and procedures that aren't necessary and are potentially harmful," the president's budget director, Peter Orszag, wrote in a blog post characteristic of the administration's argument.
Even Dartmouth's claims about which hospitals and regions are cheapest may be suspect. The principal argument behind Dartmouth's research is that doctors in the Upper Midwest offer consistently better and cheaper care than their counterparts in the South and in big cities, and if Southern and urban doctors would be less greedy and act more like ones in Minnesota, the country would be both healthier and wealthier.