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Seldom does government waste, fraud, and abuse emerge in the kind of three-legged race Americans recently witnessed on C-SPAN as Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber teamed with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services boss Marilyn Tavenner to enlighten congressional watchdogs on the subtleties of Obamacare.
In riveting testimony, Gruber confirmed that Obamacare was sold on a fraudulent basis, so the Congressional Budget Office would not score it as a tax. Gruber recast his statements about stupid and economically ignorant voters as glib comments intended to make himself look smarter. Federal and state governments had paid him millions of taxpayer dollars to fake out politicians and voters, but Gruber, an MIT economist, couldn’t recall the amount he had bagged from taxpayers, not even a ballpark figure. For the Obama administration, that was money well spent, but with Obamacare a complete bust, it all amounts to waste for the American public.
CMS boss Tavenner said it was a “mistake” to inflate the Obamacare numbers by including those on dental plans. She served up boilerplate ad copy to Obamacare acolytes but, like Gruber, she proved agnostic on critical points. She could not say, for example, how many federal workers had signed on. In the hearing, Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis said she and her husband did sign up, but the system then told them they were not covered. Lummis’s husband then skipped a critical test and subsequently died of a heart attack. So Obamacare emerged as potentially fatal abuse, as well as institutionalized waste and fraud.
On many points the criticisms from the oversight committee were detailed and devastating. That is good for viewers but bad for an opaque administration whose media manipulations include the bullying of C-SPAN, as Sharyl Attkisson outlined in Stonewalled. The hearing also exposed ample government incompetence, but Obamacare holds no monopoly on that. As we noted, on Tavenner’s watch CMS has been paying out benefits to dead people.