Gruber: 'I Was Not the Architect' of Obamacare

By Susan Jones | December 9, 2014 | 10:25 AM EST

M.I.T. economist Jonathan Gruber

( - "I did not draft (Mass.) Governor (Mitt) Romney’s health care plan, and I was not the 'architect' of President Obama’s health care plan," MIT Economics Professor Jonathan Gruber told the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

Gruber, in his prepared statement, said he "ran microsimulation models" on the health care law to help elected officials "better assess the likely outcomes of various possible policy choices."

In that role, after the law passed, Gruber went around the nation giving speeches to explain the law:

"Over the past weeks, a number of videos have emerged from these appearances. In excerpts of these videos I am shown making a series of glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting comments..."I would like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that I made. In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong.

"In other cases I simply made insulting and mean comments that are totally uncalled for in any situation. I sincerely apologize both for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion. It is never appropriate to try to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I know better. I knew better. I am embarrassed, and I am sorry."

Gruber said his own "inexcusable arrogance" does not mean the ACA itself is flawed.

He also said he does not think that the Affordable Care Act "was passed in a non-transparent fashion."

And he insisted that the law "must" include tax credits for residents in all states, even in those states that did not set up their own health care exchanges.

But that's not what Gruber said in 2012:

"I think what’s important to remember politically about this is, if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits (subsidies)," Gruber said at a lecture in 2012.

"But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges, and that they’ll do it."

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to examine whether the Affordable Care Act allows subsidies (tax credits) for people who purchase health insurance in the federally run exchanges, and some people have said that Gruber's 2012 comments could bolster the plaintiffs' case.

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