From the mixed-up files of Jonathan Gruber

You have to wonder if the Obama administration has ever uttered a true word about Obamacare. I say no.

President Obama has shifted the prevarications into overdrive in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s imminent decision on the IRS’s regulatory revision of the Obamacare law in King v. Burwell. On the issue before the Court in the case, we await a true word from the Obama administration, but we’re not holding our breath.

You may recall that when Jonathan Gruber distinguished himself as the man who dared to tell the truth about the law’s exploitation of the stupidity of the American voter and the rationale of the law’s design, President Obama and his minions went into “Gruber? Whodat???” mode (to borrow from John Updike). According to the White House, Gruber had essentially nothing to do with Obamacare.

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries the page-two story “MIT economist Jonathan Gruber had bigger role in health law, emails show” (accessible here via Google).

Bigger than what? Bigger than the White House has acknowledged.

The Journal’s Stephanie Armour reports:

Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist whose comments about the health-care law touched off a political furor, worked more closely than previously known with the White House and top federal officials to shape the law, previously unreleased emails show.

The emails, provided by the House Oversight Committee to The Wall Street Journal, cover messages Mr. Gruber sent from January 2009 through March 2010. Committee staffers said they worked with MIT to obtain the 20,000 pages of emails….

The emails show frequent consultations between Mr. Gruber and top Obama administration staffers and advisers in the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on the Affordable Care Act. They show he informed HHS about interviews with reporters and discussions with lawmakers, and he consulted with HHS about how to publicly describe his role….

The White House has described Mr. Gruber as having a limited role in crafting the law. President Barack Obama in 2014 said Mr. Gruber was “some adviser who never worked on our staff.” Mr. Gruber told Congress last year he disagreed with the widespread characterization of his role as the “architect” of Mr. Obama’s health-care plan.

“His proximity to HHS and the White House was a whole lot tighter than they admitted,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), chairman of the House oversight committee. “There’s no doubt he was a much more integral part of this than they’ve said. He put up this facade he was an arm’s length away. It was a farce.”

Mr. Chaffetz on Sunday sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell requesting information justifying the department’s sole-source contract with Mr. Gruber for his work on the health law.

Mr. Gruber declined to comment.

This in particular supplies a certain context to the White House’s disavowals of Gruber:

“Thank you for being an integral part of getting us to this historic moment,” according to Sept. 9, 2009 email to Mr. Gruber from Jeanne Lambrew, a top Obama administration health adviser who worked at HHS and the White House. In a November 2009 email, she called Mr. Gruber “our hero.”

According to the HHS spokesman quoted by the Journal, of course, “These emails only echo old news.” In making this statement to the Journal, the HHS spokesman is faithfully following the White House scandal management playbook.