Tags: Healthcare Reform | Jonathan Gruber | Obamacare | architect | stupidity

Obamacare Architect: I Regret 'Stupidity of Voter' Remark

Image: Obamacare Architect: I Regret 'Stupidity of Voter' Remark
Economist Jonathan Gruber. (Dominick Reuter/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 04:52 PM

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said on Tuesday that he regretted commenting last year that a "lack of transparency" and the "stupidity of the American voter" helped Congress pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

"The comments in the video were made at an academic conference," Gruber told the "Ronan Farrow Daily" show on MSNBC. "I was speaking off the cuff. I basically spoke inappropriately. I regret having made those comments."

Gruber, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made headlines over the weekend after The Daily Caller published a video from a panel discussion last year in which he said Obamacare might not have become law if Americans were smarter.

"This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK, so it's written to do that," Gruber said on the panel in October 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania.

"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 to get the thing to pass," Gruber said. "Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I'd rather have this law than not."

He told MSNBC on Tuesday that he meant it had been better to set up Obamacare's financing through the tax code because it was more "politically palatable" than through other means.

"That was the only point I was making," he told Farrow.

Gruber was a consultant on the Massachusetts healthcare law on which Obamacare was modeled, and was paid nearly $400,000 for his work on the Affordable Care Act.

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Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber said on Tuesday that he regretted commenting last year that a "lack of transparency" and the "stupidity of the American voter" helped Congress pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010.
Jonathan Gruber, Obamacare, architect, stupidity
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2014-52-11
Tuesday, 11 Nov 2014 04:52 PM
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