President Barack Obama on Sunday denied ever misleading American voters regarding details of his signature legislative achievement, Obamacare.
“The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run,” Obama said of MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber's comments.
Gruber's comments surfaced earlier this week. In his statements, he claimed the writers of the controversial legislation relied on the "stupidity of the American voter" or about how the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) had figured out a way to "rip off" American taxpayers for $400 million per year.
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure [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. 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," Gruber said at the Annual Health Economists' Conference last year.
Lack of transparency, Gruber said, was a huge political advantage for the highly unpopular health care reform bill.
"Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass," he said.
Gruber added that it was better for the American people to be saddled with a law they don’t understand than for them to understand the law and rally against it.
“Look, I wish … we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not," Gruber said.
But President Obama struck a much different tone in comments he made Sunday:
“I would just advise every press outlet here: Pull up every clip and every story. I think it’s fair to say there was not a provision in the health care law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent. It was a tough debate," Obama said.
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