The Yiddish word “chutzpah” is colloquially used to describe someone who has the shameless audacity or the nerve to act in an outrageous manner. However, in an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Jonathan Gruber redefined the word to describe someone who honestly had the cajones to deflect blame from himself to others. Gruber, the chief architect of Romney-care in Massachusetts as well as the Affordable Care Act, accused President Trump and the Republicans for Obamacare’s failures.
Here is how he started his piece:
The primary rallying cry for this week’s passage of the American Health Care Act was the claim that the Affordable Care Act was “imploding.” Republicans argued the rapidity and lack of clarity with which this radical bill passed the House was necessary given how quickly the ACA was “falling apart.” They cited as evidence the recent large premium increases and the growing number of counties with no insurers.
What supporters of the AHCA are not admitting, however, is that the ACA’s current failings are due to the misguided policies of Republicans and particularly the Trump administration. Before Donald Trump was elected, there were no places in the country where individuals could not buy insurance on the exchanges. The large premium increases announced last year were a one-time correction to make up for insurers’ dramatic underpricing in the first years of the ACA. The problems we are seeing now are due to the uncertainties injected into the market by the Trump administration’s actions to undermine the ACA’s success.
He further stated that when Trump entered office, he shut down the HealthCare.gov website, signing an executive order that killed the individual mandate penalties. He cited those instances as being directly responsible for preventing approximately 500,000 people from acquiring health care. However, nowhere in the article did he address the failures of Obamacare, including PolitiFact‘s 2013 Lie of the Year of “If You Like Your Health Care, You Can Keep It.” Here is what PolitiFact said on that infamous fib:
It was a catchy political pitch and a chance to calm nerves about his dramatic and complicated plan to bring historic change to America’s health insurance system.
“If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” President Barack Obama said — many times — of his landmark new law.
But the promise was impossible to keep.
So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong.
Boiling down the complicated health care law to a soundbite proved treacherous, even for its promoter-in-chief. Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along. The stunning political uproar led to this: a rare presidential apology.
Instead of addressing the reality that Obamacare created far more problems than it intended to solve, Gruber had the audacity to pin the blame on the Republicans, who are working with an imperfect solution to alleviating the problems that the law created upon its passage in 2010. In his opinion, self-reflection regarding his prized accomplishment of increasing the cost of health care for both individuals and businesses is off the table and it is better to find a new scapegoat.
Talk about chutzpah.