An architect of the federal healthcare law said last year that a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American voter” helped Congress approve ObamaCare.
In a clip unearthed Sunday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Jonathan Gruber appears on a panel and discusses how the reform earned enough votes to pass.
He suggested that many lawmakers and voters didn’t know what was in the law or how its financing worked, and that this helped it win approval.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said. "And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”
Gruber made the comment while discussing how the law was “written in a tortured way” to avoid a bad score from the Congressional Budget Office. He suggested that voters would have rejected ObamaCare if the penalties for going without health insurance were interpreted as taxes, either by budget analysts or the public.
“If CBO scored the [individual] mandate as taxes, the bill dies,” Gruber said.
“If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get subsidies, it would not have passed,” he added.
The clip is generating significant attention in conservative media. Gruber declined to comment in an email. The economist, who helped design a Massachusetts law that inspired ObamaCare, said he wished “we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not."