- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

An MIT professor who was an architect of Obamacare said Tuesday he “spoke inappropriately” when he said a lack of transparency and “the stupidity of American voter” played a key part in the law’s passage.

“The comments in the video were made at an academic conference,” Jonathan Gruber said Tuesday on MSNBC. “I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately and I regret having made those comments.”

He said he was trying to make the point that public policy involving spending “is typically less politically palatable than policy that involves doing things through the tax code.”

Mr. Gruber’s comments, which came last year but have surfaced online in recent days, have prompted fresh criticism from critics of the law, many of whom were already displeased with how the original legislation was passed.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes,” he said in the remarks last year. “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK, so it’s written to do that.”

In a surprise decision in 2012, the Supreme Court famously did uphold the law’s “individual mandate” that most Americans purchase health insurance or face a penalty as constitutional not under Congress’s authority to control interstate commerce, but under its taxing power.

“In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money — it would not have passed,” Mr. Gruber continued in his remarks from last year. “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.”

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