Does the name Jonathan Gruber ring a bell?
He’s an economist and professor at MIT, best known for his role in the development of the Affordable Care Act,
affectionately known as Obamacare.
We talked about him last summer. This might sound familiar:
Gruber was an architect of both the PPACA and its Massachusetts precursor, “RomneyCare.” In 2009 and 2010, he was a highly paid advisor to the Obama administration during the congressional debate that produced the PPACA. According to the New York Times, “the White House lent him to Capitol Hill to help Congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.”
He boasts to the Times, “I know more about this law than any other economist.”
He’s the guy who agreed with the Congressional interpretation of the law – that intended subsidies to apply to everyone who purchased insurance on a federal exchange, regardless of the state’s decision to participate in that exchange or not.
But in 2012, Gruber gave a speech, in which he stated that the law clearly provided for tax credits only if the individual purchased on a state exchange:
“I think 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.”
Remember, at the heart of Obamacare are those tax subsidies that were supposed to make the Affordable Care Act “affordable.” But there is an ongoing legal battle about those subsidies – one that will be heard by the Supreme Court early next year.
Possibly in light of all the lawsuits over this very issue, Gruber changed his tune when Chris Matthews asked him about it on Hardball. He claimed the state exchange vs. federal exchange debate is the result of a “typo” and that there was no intention of excluding the states. That’s funny, considering Gruber said this in his 2012 speech:
“In the law, it says if the states don’t provide them, the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it. I think 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. 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. I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it. But you know, once again, the politics can get ugly around this.”
That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?
Gruber, perhaps not surprisingly, has found his way into the news again.
If his blatant lie about state exchanges wasn’t bad enough, now a video of him calling American voters “stupid” has surfaced.
Watch for yourself:
That’s right – you just watched Gruber, who said “I know more about this law than any other economist” admit a “lack of transparency” helped the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats pass Obamacare.
American Commitment posted the video, reportedly from an Oct. 17, 2013, event, on YouTube.
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass… Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
Does this guy have foot-in-mouth disease, or did someone give him truth serum? Either way, it would be great if he keeps talking, because statements like the ones he’s made may help facilitate Obamacare’s demise.
(H/T to Legal Insurrection)
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Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”