Meet the guy who found all those Jonathan Gruber Obamacare clips

The story about Rich Weinstein, an unknown investment advisor who poured through hours and hours of YouTube videos, radio interviews, and other media featuring Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber is both incredible and inspiring.

It is Weinstein who is responsible for ferreting out Gruber's toxic comments about the "stupidity of the American people" and, more importantly, Gruber's insistence that Obamacare subsidies were limited to state exchanges and should not be made available at the federal level.

Bloomberg:

A few days ago, Weinstein pulled a short clip from Gruber's year-old appearance at a University of Pennsylvania health care conference. As a crowd murmured with laughter, Gruber explained that the process that created the ACA was, by necessity, obfuscated to pull one over on voters.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” said Gruber. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Call it the stupidity of the America voter, or whatever.”

Weinstein's scoop went around the world in a hurry. American Commitment, a conservative 501(c)(4) founded by Americans for Prosperity veteran Phil Kerpen, published the clip on its YouTube channel. Kerpen promoted it through tweets, which quickly became live coverage of the media outlets discovering Gruber.

The University of Pennsylvania actually pulled the clip for a few hours before a Tsunami of outrage forced them to put it back up.

Weinstein's activism is the result of him losing his insurance in 2013:

Weinstein dates his accidental citizen journalism back to the end of 2013 and the first run of insurance cancellations or policy changes. He was among the people who got a letter informing him that his old policy did not meet ACA standards.

“When Obama said 'If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period'—frankly, I believed him,” says Weinstein. “He very often speaks with qualifiers. When he said 'period,' there were no qualifiers. You can understand that when I lost my own plan, and the replacement cost twice as much, I wasn’t happy. So I’m watching the news, and at that time I was thinking: Hey, the administration was not telling people the truth, and the media was doing nothing!”

So Weinstein, new plan in hand, started watching the news. “These people were showing up on the shows, calling themselves architects of the law,” he recalls. “I saw David Cutler, Zeke Emanuel, Jonathan Gruber, people like that. I wondered if these guys had some type of paper trail. So I looked into what Dr. Cutler had said and written, and it was generally all about cost control. After I finished with Cutler, I went to Dr. Gruber. I assume I went through every video, every radio interview, every podcast. Every everything.”

His second shot across the bow of Obamacare was an even bigger coup:

Weinstein dug and dug and eventually discovered the first Gruber quote, known in conservative circles as the “speak-o.” Gruber had been on TV arguing that the case against subsidies in non-exchange states was ludicrous. Yet at a January 2012 symposium, Gruber seemed to be making the conservatives' argument. “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill,” said Gruber. “So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.”

The investment advisor e-mailed this around. Nobody cared. Nobody noticed the clip until after the D.C. circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of plaintiffs who were suing to stop the subsidies. Weinstein clicked around for articles about the decision, and left a comment on The Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog, pointing to the clip. In short order, Ryan Radia of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute noticed the clip and promoted it. Within hours, Gruber's “speak-o” had greatly muddied the liberal argument.

SCOTUS now has not only evidence of congressional intent to limit the subsidies, but also evidence that the people who wrote the law had the same intent. It's going to be very hard for John Roberts to finesse this one, which probably means SCOTUS will uphold King and the subsidies gotten through the federal website will end.

That doesn't mean the end of Obamacare. It is pssible that many states without exchanges will set them up to prevent the disruption in coverage for those in their states who got insurance through healthcare.gov.  But Weinstein's efforts have thrown a monkey wrench into Obamacare's inner workings and whether the program can survive is open to question.

The story about Rich Weinstein, an unknown investment advisor who poured through hours and hours of YouTube videos, radio interviews, and other media featuring Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber is both incredible and inspiring.

It is Weinstein who is responsible for ferreting out Gruber's toxic comments about the "stupidity of the American people" and, more importantly, Gruber's insistence that Obamacare subsidies were limited to state exchanges and should not be made available at the federal level.

Bloomberg:

A few days ago, Weinstein pulled a short clip from Gruber's year-old appearance at a University of Pennsylvania health care conference. As a crowd murmured with laughter, Gruber explained that the process that created the ACA was, by necessity, obfuscated to pull one over on voters.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” said Gruber. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Call it the stupidity of the America voter, or whatever.”

Weinstein's scoop went around the world in a hurry. American Commitment, a conservative 501(c)(4) founded by Americans for Prosperity veteran Phil Kerpen, published the clip on its YouTube channel. Kerpen promoted it through tweets, which quickly became live coverage of the media outlets discovering Gruber.

The University of Pennsylvania actually pulled the clip for a few hours before a Tsunami of outrage forced them to put it back up.

Weinstein's activism is the result of him losing his insurance in 2013:

Weinstein dates his accidental citizen journalism back to the end of 2013 and the first run of insurance cancellations or policy changes. He was among the people who got a letter informing him that his old policy did not meet ACA standards.

“When Obama said 'If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period'—frankly, I believed him,” says Weinstein. “He very often speaks with qualifiers. When he said 'period,' there were no qualifiers. You can understand that when I lost my own plan, and the replacement cost twice as much, I wasn’t happy. So I’m watching the news, and at that time I was thinking: Hey, the administration was not telling people the truth, and the media was doing nothing!”

So Weinstein, new plan in hand, started watching the news. “These people were showing up on the shows, calling themselves architects of the law,” he recalls. “I saw David Cutler, Zeke Emanuel, Jonathan Gruber, people like that. I wondered if these guys had some type of paper trail. So I looked into what Dr. Cutler had said and written, and it was generally all about cost control. After I finished with Cutler, I went to Dr. Gruber. I assume I went through every video, every radio interview, every podcast. Every everything.”

His second shot across the bow of Obamacare was an even bigger coup:

Weinstein dug and dug and eventually discovered the first Gruber quote, known in conservative circles as the “speak-o.” Gruber had been on TV arguing that the case against subsidies in non-exchange states was ludicrous. Yet at a January 2012 symposium, Gruber seemed to be making the conservatives' argument. “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you're a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits—but your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill,” said Gruber. “So you’re essentially saying [to] your citizens you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country.”

The investment advisor e-mailed this around. Nobody cared. Nobody noticed the clip until after the D.C. circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of plaintiffs who were suing to stop the subsidies. Weinstein clicked around for articles about the decision, and left a comment on The Washington Post's Volokh Conspiracy blog, pointing to the clip. In short order, Ryan Radia of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute noticed the clip and promoted it. Within hours, Gruber's “speak-o” had greatly muddied the liberal argument.

SCOTUS now has not only evidence of congressional intent to limit the subsidies, but also evidence that the people who wrote the law had the same intent. It's going to be very hard for John Roberts to finesse this one, which probably means SCOTUS will uphold King and the subsidies gotten through the federal website will end.

That doesn't mean the end of Obamacare. It is pssible that many states without exchanges will set them up to prevent the disruption in coverage for those in their states who got insurance through healthcare.gov.  But Weinstein's efforts have thrown a monkey wrench into Obamacare's inner workings and whether the program can survive is open to question.