President Barack Obama, his administration officials and members of Congress last week aggressively pushed back from MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber's comments in which he said the "stupidity of the American voter" was critical for getting health care reform passed.
And now a former senator, currently a member of Obama's Cabinet, might find himself doing the same thing as his fellow Democrats.
Secretary of State John Kerry testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (AP Photo: J. Scott Applewhite)
During the Oct. 1, 2009 Senate Finance Committee hearing on Obamacare, then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) -- who Obama tapped in February 2013 to become secretary of state -- referred to Gruber as a "guide" on health care reform efforts.
Kerry was speaking on the topic of health care affordability and hospital negotiations when he said this:
"According to Gruber who has been our guide on a lot of this, it's somewhere in the vicinity of an $8 billion cost. We could not get CBO to score this for us, so...but that's about the cost that I think it is. I have a couple of offsets. If the chairman is willing...I know we're not going to do that here tonight but I really would like to know that we're going to address this in good faith between now and the floor or even..." Kerry said.
The unearthed video comes just one day after President Obama distanced himself from Gruber, saying Gruber was "never on our staff" and that his comments are "not a reflection on the actual process that was run." Former White House senior adviser David Axelrod came out swinging on Twitter Sunday when he said that Jonathan Gruber's picture is next to the word "stupid" in the dictionary. And last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said of Gruber, “I don’t know who he is. He didn’t help write our bill.”
Video later surfaced of Pelosi, and even Harry Reid, referencing Gruber in earlier speeches.
Gruber first made his comments at the Annual Health Economists' Conference last year but those remarks only came to light last week.
Speaking at what he later said was an "academic forum, " Gruber admitted there was a particular way in which Obamacare legislation had to be written in order for it to pass.
“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.
Lack of transparency, he added, 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."
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,” he concluded.
(H/T: Daily Caller)
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