To the editor:

Citing economics professor and Affordable Care Act consultant Jonathan Gruber’s remarks, Taylor Armerding tells us that “Obamacare was sold on lies. Calculated and deliberate lies.” (“Jonathan Gruber thinks you’re stupid — and so do Obama and Pelosi,”  Nov. 24). 

Whatever the Obama administration may or may not have done to get ACA passed, why is Mr. Armerding so worked up about a program aimed at providing more people with health insurance? Does he like having the costs of treatment for the uninsured passed on to the rest of us when they show up at the emergency room? Does he find it preferable to have insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions? Why wasn’t Mr. Armerding using equally strong language when the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld regime was waging war against Saddam Hussein (an enemy of Osama Bin Laden!), opening up Iraq to Al Qaeda and causing the death of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, while at the same time running our economy into the ground? Apparently, for Mr. Armerding, this pales compared to the horrible, destructive force of ACA. As many Americans bankrupt by medical bills know only too well, Obamacare never set itself up as a remedy for the profit-driven financial extortion system we call healthcare. It only makes the current system accessible to more Americans, by expanding coverage and increasing affordability. National healthcare, and the threat that it would pose to the huge, predatory profits of the insurance and healthcare industry, wasn’t even on the table. In fact, because of expanded enrollment, Obamacare has become a windfall for insurance companies. So what’s the big fuss from the right? And where was all the kicking and screaming when our former governor gave us Romneycare? 

As to the issue of the competency of the American voter, let’s face it: We’re not famous for voting in our own best interests, and our choices often have the people of the advanced industrial nations scratching their heads. It took the disaster of the Bush years to prompt us to finally vote into office a thoughtful, intelligent, articulate and progressive leader. Unfortunately, from the starting gate, he was up against the hateful, obstructionist knuckle draggers in Congress, whose single purpose became to stonewall this man and protect the interests of The One Percent. The American electorate’s response: Vote into office more obstructionist, status quo Republicans, of course. Draw your own conclusions. 

Judging from the title, I had expected Mr. Armerding’s article to speak out in defense of the American voter. Instead, regarding voter ignorance, he writes “Sadly, they (Pelosi, Obama and Gruber) could be right.” and “Far too many Americans are just fine with politicians lying, as long as they get something out of it. That’s not only stupid; it’s sad.” Perhaps Mr. Armerding should have added “and so do I” to the title of his article.

Harry Bartnick


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