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If Obamacare's biggest problem is Jon Gruber, Obamacare is doing great

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Most House hearings do not come with swag but this morning's hearing, where MIT economist Jonathan Gruber will testify, is an exception. Tea Party Patriots handed out this t-shirt at the Capitol South metro station this morning, in advance of Gruber's 9:30 a.m. testimony before the House Oversight Committee:

Gruber Tee Shirt

(Sarah Kliff / Vox)

The t-shirt plays off of Gruber's comments, surfaced in videos last month, where he described the "stupidity of the American voters" as helping the Affordable Care Act pass.

The t-shirt shows just how discordant the morning’s hearings are. Right now, the Affordable Care Act is arguably having one of its best months. Healthcare.gov works decently well. Lots of people are enrolling in coverage — or at least way more than had at this point in open enrollment last year. Health premiums increased only slightly between 2014 and 2015.

Health costs are growing slowly — slower than they ever have since 1960 — and federal actuaries think Obamacare deserves some (but definitely not all) the credit. Deadly medical errors are dropping — again, not fully the product of the health law, but the law's reforms do get partial responsibility.

After a very rocky first year, good things are happening for Obamacare. Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are hauling in Jon Gruber for comments that he made two years ago. Tea Party Patriots are making t-shirts with his face on them. While Gruber’s comments aren’t good for the law, they’re a far cry from the law’s position one year ago today — when HealthCare.Gov was a complete disaster. That Jon Gruber’s comments are among the law’s worst liabilities right now speaks to how much brighter things are for Obamacare going into 2015 than they were going into 2014.

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