Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who was a key architect of Obamacare, may also be a central figure in the court battle over whether Obamacare subsidies are allowed for participants in the federal health insurance exchange. That’s because, as noted here, Gruber has provided the rationale for the statutory language that bars such subsidies. He thus undermines Team Obama’s argument that the statutory language can’t possibly mean what it says.
Now, we learn that Gruber, whose mouth apparently is as big as all outdoors, also served up words that pertain to the merits of the big 2012 Supreme Court decision upholding the individual mandate as a “tax.” During a panel discussion captured on video, Gruber explained that the individual mandate is not a tax, and was presented as one in order “to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes.” Team Obama deemed the deception critical because “if CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”
Gruber expanded on the theme of deception:
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.
Actually, the American voter wasn’t stupid about Obamacare. They never supported it, as public opinion polls showed. And twice, they put a licking on Democrats who voted Obamacare into law.
Insulting the intelligence of voters sometimes carries adverse consequences.
This term, Team Obama will insult the intelligence of the Supreme Court by claiming that (1) the Obamacare statute doesn’t mean what it plainly says because (2) no rationale can explain why the statute was written the way it was. Yet the obvious rationale for the statutory language has been supplied by Gruber, the key Obamacare architect.
Given the success of the mandate-as-tax theory, which the government didn’t even push in court, it’s not clear that Team Obama will fail this time around. But it is pushing its luck, and Gruber isn’t helping.
You can watch him discuss “the stupidity of the American voter” below.