Voices for Reason - What Jonathan Gruber Teaches Us about Obamacare | The Ayn Rand Institute

What Jonathan Gruber Teaches Us about Obamacare

By now you’ve probably seen the video of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, in which he admits that deceiving the American public, whom he calls “stupid,” was necessary in order to pass the law. Since the video went viral, Gruber has tried to walk back his comments amid a hail of rebukes. But perhaps we should thank him: his comments in the video expose the ideology underlying Obamacare. Gruber put into words the collectivist mindset behind how Obamacare was passed and the law’s substance.

Here’s some of what Gruber said, prefaced with relevant context:

  • Obamacare’s central scheme requires younger, healthier Americans to overpay for health insurance in order to foot the medical bills of those older, less healthy. In the debate leading up to the passage of the law, proponents were mum about this provision because, according to Gruber:

If you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in — [if] you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.

  • Why the deliberate deception? Gruber explains:

Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for [Obamacare] to pass . . . Look, I wish . . . we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.

What underlies Gruber’s comments is the philosophy of collectivism, which Ayn Rand described this way:

Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”

This ideology permeates Obamacare’s central scheme. Younger, healthier Americans must sacrifice a portion of their earnings because that’s allegedly in the group’s “interest” — to have a system in which those in society who are healthy subsidize through their insurance premiums those who are sick. Individuals who aren’t a part of this system, such as those who are uninsured, are seen as reneging on their responsibility to the group. Obamacare makes it illegal, therefore, for most Americans to go without insurance.

The fact that Obamacare’s proponents were deceptive about these key provisions is also explained by their collectivist ideology. Ayn Rand writes:

The political philosophy of collectivism is based on a view of man as a congenital incompetent, a helpless, mindless creature who must be fooled and ruled by a special elite with some unspecified claim to superior wisdom and a lust for power.

In other words, you might think there are better ways to manage your medical expenses than funneling your money into other people’s pockets — perhaps by
buying insurance that doesn’t subsidize others or foregoing insurance entirely. But under collectivism, you’re seen as incapable of making judgments on these matters, which is another reason Obamacare makes it illegal to forego insurance or buy policies that don’t meet the law’s requirements. Only experts like Gruber can know what’s good for you. And since you and I can’t understand this, proponents feel entitled to fool us into accepting their policies. For example, the individual mandate, which institutionalizes free-riding by the old and sick on the young and healthy, was sold as a

solution to free-riding. Insurance policies that were engineered to fleece younger, healthier Americans were sold as being
no different from traditional insurance.

Obamacare is shaped by an ideology that spits at the judgment and life of the individual. In a rare moment of truth, Jonathan Gruber said the words out loud. If Obamacare is to be defeated (and not replaced by a conservative-created copycat), we need to recognize the collectivism underlying it and reject that. Anybody that draws attention to this evil ideology and its connection to Obamacare is welcome in my book.