Jonathan Gruber, the White House health care adviser who infamously discussed the “stupidity of the American voter,” lectured at a conference where he instructed journalists how to report on Obamacare.
Gruber, an MIT professor and the architect of Obamacare, personally designed major Obamacare deceptions with President Obama in the Oval Office. Gruber helped Obama conceal politically risky realities of the law — such as the fact that it would not control costs — so that the law would pass. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said.
So it’s only natural that Gruber was telling reporters how to report on the law at the 2013 Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) conference in Boston.
The AHCJ board of directors includes journalists from NPR, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe, MedPage Today, and Kaiser Health News. Current Vox medical reporter Julia Belluz attended the conference, according to a tweet she sent, though she did not mention Gruber. Journalists now writing for Reuters and The Philadelphia Inquirer attended Gruber’s session, among others.
Gruber “advised” the journalists present with three recommendations, according to a 2013 AHCJ blog post.
Gruber’s recommendations, according to the post:
Focus on how the law affects everyone. Be cautious when reporting individual anecdotes because they may not represent the typical experience.
Look for academic experts and who funds them. Beware of experts that represent interest groups or have strong ideological positions.
Chaos in the earliest stages of implementation is probably inevitable, so use caution in framing stories. (“Keep calm and carry on,” he said.) Back in 2006, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, called Part D, had a rocky launch, but is generally considered popular.
Gruber first advised then-Senator Obama on health care reform in 2006 before Obama declared his candidacy for the White House.
The Commonwealth Fund, which did research that “helped lay the groundwork” for Obamacare, also put together a symposium in 2013 teaching business reporters from outlets including Reuters and Money magazine how to report on Obamacare.