‘Stupidity’ consultant agrees to testify

25 Nov

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Jonathan Gruber, the former ObamaCare adviser in hot water for his comments about the “stupidity of the American voter,” has agreed to testify at a House panel next month, setting up a healthcare showdown in what could be the final week of this Congress.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will also hear from Obama administration official Marilyn Tavenner, who is under fire this week for using inflated enrollment figures for the healthcare law.

“Both Mr. Gruber and Administrator Tavenner have agreed to testify,” committee spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll told The Hill. Both figures have played a role in major political headaches for the Obama administration, which is facing new attacks about “repeated transparency failures and outright deceptions” by committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

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Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be grilled for a number of speeches he has given since 2010 that blame the Obama administration for intentionally obscuring details of the healthcare law in order to assure its passage. Tavenner, who leads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has taken flak after an investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee revealed last week that ObamaCare enrollment figures had been inflated by nearly 400,000 people.

The administration has been quick to acknowledge that the misreported enrollment count was a mistake, and have defended Tavenner. But hardly any Democrats have stood beside Gruber.

Democrats on the committee are “still considering different options for a minority witness,” according to a Democratic staffer. The hearing, which takes place Dec. 9, will be one of the last for Issa, who has been one of the most vocal critics of the healthcare law. “The American people deserve honesty, transparency and respect from those who forced the federal government into their healthcare. I expect Mr. Gruber and Administrator Tavenner to testify publicly next month about the arrogance and deceptions surrounding the passage and implementation of ObamaCare,” Issa wrote in a statement last week when he announced the hearing.

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