Oversight Leaders Spotlight Democratic Source’s Conflict of Interest in Document Defending President Obama’s Health Care Law

Published: Dec 6, 2011

(WASHINGTON)—Oversight and Government Reform Committee leaders today called attention to a clear conflict of interest involving a widely-quoted source used by Committee Democratic members in support of President Obama’s health care law.

This assessment was included in a letter from Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Health Care, District of Columbia, Census and National Archives Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Danny Davis (D-IL). Republicans issued a report October 27 noting that insurance tax credits in the President’s health care law create a new marriage penalty, move millions of Americans off the tax rolls, and add a market incentive for employers to begin dropping sponsored health insurance so that workers can receive a tax credit.

Committee Democrats had attempted to criticize this report in a letter sent November 7, but in so doing relied heavily on opinions of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Jonathan Gruber who was a paid consultant and advocate for the Obama Administration. Their response also included several factual errors and incomplete analysis of data.

Gruber has often failed to disclose, despite a legal requirement to do so, that he was under contract with the Obama Administration while he was an outspoken public advocate for the President’s health care program. In total, he was awarded nearly $400,000 in federal contracts. In addition, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) relied on Professor Gruber’s work for its estimate of how employers would respond to the health care law. Therefore, is not surprising that Professor Gruber defends the CBO estimates of the law’s impact on the deficit.

The letter from Issa and Gowdy provides considerable evidence from a variety of sources documenting that many more employers are likely to reconfigure workplace health insurance because of the health care law. The letter also highlights a statement by Minority Leader Pelosi that the health care law “emancipated (businesses) from health care costs because they have a way out.” This statement by one of the law’s key architects, shows that businesses dropping coverage was possibly intended by President Obama’s health law.

In addition, Issa’s and Gowdy’s letter draws attention to several errors in the Democrats’ letter. For example, Issa and Gowdy provide context to several quotes made by Dr. Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, which Mr. Cummings and Mr. Davis took out of context.

Produced from Joint Committee on Taxation data, the Republican report showed that only 14 percent of the tax filers projected to claim insurance tax credits under the President’s health care law will be married and that only two million of the 14 million tax filers claiming the credit will still have positive income tax liability after claiming the credit.

The Committee’s report, “Uncovering the True Impact of the Obamacare Tax Credits: Increases the Deficit, Expands Welfare Through the Tax Code, and Implements a New Marriage Penalty,” is available here. Information on a related subcommittee hearing is available here. A copy of the letter is available here.

Related Documents

Name Document
Committee Report
Letter from Issa and Gowdy to Cummings and Davis