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Watch Obamacare Architect Jonathan Gruber Admit in 2012 That Subsidies Were Limited to State-Run Exchanges (Updated With Another Admission)

Whitehouse.govWhitehouse.govEarlier this week, a three-judge panel in the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that, contrary to the Obama administration’s implementation and an Internal Revenue Service rule, Obamacare’s subsidies for private health insurance were limited to state-run health exchanges.

The reasoning for this ruling was simple: That’s what the law says. The section dealing with the creation of state exchanges and the provision of subsidies states, quite clearly, that subsidies are only available in exchanges "established by a State," which the law expressly defines as the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. 

Obamacare’s defenders have responded by saying that this is obviously ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense in the larger context of the law, and what’s more, no one who supported the law or voted for it ever talked about this. It’s a theory concocted entirely by the law’s opponents, the health law's backers argue, and never once mentioned by people who crafted or backed the law.

It’s not. One of the law’s architects—at the same time that he was a paid consultant to states deciding whether or not to build their own exchanges—was espousing exactly this interpretation as far back in early 2012, and long before the Halbig suit—the one that was decided this week against the administration—was filed. (A related suit, Pruitt v. Sebelius, had been filed earlier, but did not challenge tax credits within the federal exchanges until an amended version which was filed in late 2012.) It was also several months before the first publication of the paper by Case Western Law Professor Jonathan Adler and Cato Institute Health Policy Director Michael Cannon which detailed the case against the IRS rule. 

Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who helped design the Massachusetts health law that was the model for Obamacare, was a key influence on the creation of the federal health law. He was widely quoted in the media. During the crafting of the law, the Obama administration brought him on for consultation because of his expertise. He was paid almost $400,000 to consult with the administration on the law. And he has claimed to have written part of the legislation, the section dealing with small business tax credits.

After the law passed, in 2011 and throughout 2012, multiple states sought his expertise to help them understand their options regarding the choice to set up their own exchanges. During that period of time, in January of 2012, Gruber told an audience at Noblis, a technical management support organization, that tax credits—the subsidies available for health insurance—were only available in states that set up their own exchanges.

A video of the presentation, posted on YouTube, was unearthed tonight by Ryan Radia at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank which has participated in the legal challenge to the IRS rule allowing subsidies in federal exchanges. Here’s what Gruber says.

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—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 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. But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this. [emphasis added]

Here’s the video, which according to YouTube's date stamp was uploaded by Noblis on January 20, 2012. The relevant passage starts around minute 31.

There can be no doubt, based on his record, that Gruber is a supporter of the law. He says so in the presentation. "I’m biased, I’m in favor of this type of law, I won’t hide that," he says. He also explains early on that his entire presentation is made of "verifiable objective facts."

And what he says is exactly what challengers to the administration’s implementation of the law have been arguing—that if a state chooses not to establish its own exchange, then residents of those states will not be able to access Obamacare's health insurance tax credits. He says this in response to a question asking whether the federal government will step in if a state chooses not to build its own exchange. Gruber describes the possibility that states won’t enact their own exchanges as one of the potential "threats" to the law. He says this with confidence and certainty, and at no other point in the presentation does he contradict the statement in question. 

In early 2013, Gruber told the liberal magazine Mother Jones that the theory advanced by the challengers in this case was "nutty." Gruber also signed an amicus brief in defense of the administration and the IRS rule. But judging by the video it is quite clear that in 2012 he accepted the essence of the interpretation advanced by the challengers.

Unless this video is a fraud or there are relevant details missing, there are only two options here: Either Gruber, a key influence on the legislation who wrote part of the law and who consulted with multiple states on setting up their own exchanges, was correct, and the law explicitly limits subsidies to state-run exchanges.

Or he was wrong in a way that perfectly aligns with both the clear text of the legislation and the argument later made by the challengers to the IRS rule allowing susbidies in federal exchanges. 

Update: Earlier this week, Gruber was on MNSBC to address the Halbig ruling. He was asked if the language limiting subsidies to state-run exchanges was a typo. His response: "It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it's a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states."

Update 2: The Cato Institute's Michael Cannon, who was instrumental in developing the arguments that laid the groundwork for the legal challenge in Halbig, responds to the video at Forbes

I don’t mean to overstate the importance of this revelation. Gruber acknowledging this feature of the law is not direct evidence of congressional intent. But Gruber is probably the most influential private citizen/government contractor involved in that legislative process. He was in the room with the people who crafted this bill.

Update 3: Gruber says the statement in the video was "a mistake." Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic got a response from Gruber this morning. Here are a few snippets:

I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.

During this era, at this time, the federal government was trying to encourage as many states as possible to set up their exchanges. ...

At this time, there was also substantial uncertainty about whether the federal backstop would be ready on time for 2014. I might have been thinking that if the federal backstop wasn't ready by 2014, and states hadn't set up their own exchange, there was a risk that citizens couldn't get the tax credits right away. ...

But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn’t take that step. That’s clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo.

Update 4: Gruber appears to have made a second "speak-o." In a separate speech, he spoke of the "threat" posed by states declining to build their own exchanges. And he once again explicitly ties the creation of state-based exchanges to the law's tax credits (its subsidies for private health insurance insurance).

On January 10, 2012, in a speech at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Gruber said that "by not setting up an exchange, the politicians of a state are costing state residents hundreds and millions and billions of dollars....That is really the ultimate threat, is, will people understand that, gee, if your governor doesn't set up an exchange, you're losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens."

Here's the recording, via John Sexton at Breitbart:

(Disclosure: From 2005 through early 2007 I worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.)

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  • Rich||

    He also explains early on that his entire presentation is made of "verifiable objective facts."

    "You can believe me when I say this, because I never lie and I'm always right."

  • ||

    +1 Tirebiter

  • radar||

    "Paid for by the Tirebiter for Political Solutions Committee, Sector R"

  • DevilsPrinciple||

    Offer not good in Sectors R or N

  • Curtisls87||

    "Where's the boy of mine?"

    "He's upstairs helping the maid, Porcelain, make the bed."

  • clamcakes||

    Oddly, I feel a chill.....

  • Headless Body of Agnew||

    There are only two options here: Either Gruber, a key influence on the legislation who wrote part of the law and who consulted with multiple states on setting up their own exchanges, was correct, and the law explicitly limits subsidies to state-run exchanges.

    Or he was wrong in a way that perfectly aligns the argument later made by the challengers to the IRS rule allowing susbidies in federal exchanges.

    Doesn't matter, he meant well.

  • Rich||

    *Spiro* Agnew?!

  • JW||

    Agnew, KILL.

  • Rich||

    *** makes growling noises ***

  • Cap'n Krunch||

    He's like a health care Paul Krugman. The facts are always whatever the democrat party says at any particular moment. Democrats say debt is bad, debt is bad, they say debt is good, debt is good. That's how you get a Nobel Prize in Economics.

  • Warrren||

    HA HA HA HA HA HA

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    I see someone doesn't understand the Revolutionary Truth.

    To the camps with him!

  • ||

    2012: "But, you know, once again the politics can get ugly around this."

    2013: "Jonathan Gruber, who helped write former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Massachusetts health care law as well as the Affordable Care Act, calls this theory a "screwy interpretation" of the law. "It's nutty. It's stupid," he says."

    Gee i wonder what happened between January 2012 and 2013?

    Could it be that the politics got ugly enough to elect a Republican house?

  • John Thacker||

    No, the Republican House was elected in 2010. What happened between January 2012 and 2013 was that they realized that a bunch of states weren't going to operate their own exchanges, some even though they wanted to wouldn't be capable of it, and that the law was unpopular enough that taxing all those people for no benefit might result in the law being repealed, rather than it only being a couple of states that could easily be browbeaten in line.

  • Hunthjof||

    Also the stunt they pulled back fired. They were using the subsidies scheme as both the carrot and stick to force states to build run and pay for the exchanges. The theory was they could beat Republican State Houses with the "You don't want your people to get healthcare subsidies you heartless beasts." Think at the very least it would swing a few houses to the DNC. However 36 states called the feds bluff and now they are trying to salvage the monstrosity with IRS rulings. Much like the HHS ruling about contraceptive coverage a requirement not placed into the ACA when passed specifically because it wouldn't have passed with it in there. This of course angered to NOW crowd so to appease them they made a HHS ruling.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Progressives don't care what was said by whom or when, they don't care who lied, and they don't care about the Constitution, the rule of law, or anybody's legal arguments either.

    Their whole purpose is to make progress on their agenda over the objections and obstacles put forth by their opponents--and whether those objections and obstacles are legitimate is completely beside the point to them.

    They want universal healthcare paid for by the taxpayers, and they don't care what we have to do to get there. They would burn the Constitution, and abolish the Supreme Court if they thought doing so would ensure that healthcare was universal and paid for by the taxpayers.

    They make fundamentalist Christians look moderate by comparison.

  • JW||

    I'm going to start calling them Verucasives.

  • BiPolarMoment||

    Salty Vaginas

  • radar||

    Exactly. This is why my own political leanings most accurately described as anti-leftist. They are pure fucking evil.

  • GILMORE||

    Would this have any bearing on future legal judgements?

    The 4th circuit seemed to allow for the subsidies on the basis that the law was 'unclear' and that leniency needed to be allowed for congress' intent.

    Evidence like this (if it really serves as evidence) seems to suggest that there is less uncertainty about that specific issue.

  • LynchPin1477||

    IANAL, but my guess is that if the plain language of the law isn't enough to convince the courts, then some unelected consultant's off the cuff comment, not endorsed by anyone in government, isn't going to sway them either.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    He's a helluva lot more than some consultant.

  • Sevo||

    LynchPin1477|7.24.14 @ 10:33PM|#
    "IANAL, but my guess is that if the plain language of the law isn't enough"...

    Sorta like 'this is specifically NOT a tax, since a tax wouldn't get the votes and a tax has to start in the House' plain language.
    And then that asshole Roberts saying 'well, it COULD be read as a tax. If you hold your mouth right. And if you really want to be invited to certain functions'.
    Sorta like THAT PLAIN FUCKING LANGUAGE?

  • Almanian!||

    Not Taxes is a helluva drug.

  • JW||

    Someone should start checking the bank accounts of the 4th Circuit judges, for any recent large deposits.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Say, that's a nice judgeship you have there........

  • Hunthjof||

    You know Judge person I have at lest one SCOTUS appointment coming up I think you would look great on the Bench in DC.

  • Rich||

    leniency needed to be allowed for congress' intent.

    "Congress' intent"? Is that like "the will of the People"?

  • sasob||

    Not often.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Would this have any bearing on future legal judgements?"

    Once it gets to the Supreme Court, I don't think they're likely to consider it in terms of who said what when. If this guy had said that subsidies were available to everyone back then, would that stand as support for the assertion?

    I don't think so. I think it is what it is regardless of what this guy said way back when.

    When I think about what's going to happen at the Supreme Court with this, I keep focusing on Roberts and his logic in the majority opinion. Will what Roberts said back then relate to how he rules now? I hope so!

    He had a couple of things to say in his opinion that relate.

    First he said that, "It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." He said that in regards to healthy people not buying insurance until they're sick--he was saying that if the whole system craters because of its legislative flaws, it's not the SC's job to fix that.

    I'd expect to see him extend the same logic to stripping subsidies from millions of people in thirty-odd states, as well. If he doesn't use the same logic, he should be lambasted for it.

    Second, his logic in the majority opinion was all about the Congress' power to tax. If Roberts predicated his approval of the ACA on Congress' legitimate power to tax, how can he turn around and support it predicated on the president's nonexistent power to spend?

  • SusanM||

    how can he turn around and support it predicated on the president's nonexistent power to spend?

    By making sure the NSA doesn't tell everyone about his visits to "www.RussianBarnyardBabes.ru"?

  • Sevo||

    Is that a SHOCKING video?

  • sasob||

    "www.RussianBarnyardBabes.ru"

    That Webpage Is Not Available.

  • Raven Nation||

    Well, to be fair (and not necessarily including Roberts), most of the last 5-13 years have operated on the FYTW power of the state.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's been a mixed bag.

    The really bad ones sting hard (Kelo and ACA stunk), but there have been some good ones, too.

    They've affirmed our right to bear arms, and even the ACA decision determined that requiring individuals to buy insurance exceeded the power granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause.

    No doubt, there have been some stinkers.

  • Raven Nation||

    Sorry, should have been more specific: I was referring to the government in general. And the Obama administration more specifically which just doesn't seem to give a shit about public opinion, polls, or constitutionality.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    YES.

    What Gruber said DURING the formulation of the law can be cited in court.

    What he said afterward it was signed cannot.

  • PapayaSF||

    IANAL, but I think you're wrong. This is not being argued in a courtroom with sworn witnesses and exhibits and chains of evidence and so on. It's an appeals court, about interpreting law. One side can argue: "Only nutty people came up with this legal interpretation, which nobody ever talked about before and it's not what the law means." So it's perfectly reasonable to respond with: "On the contrary, and here's a transcript of one of the people who helped write the law discussing this very issue, before the passage of the law. States without exchanges don't get subsidies. The law means just what it says."

    Kudos to Ryan Radia and the Competitive Enterprise Institute for digging this up. This utterly destroys the opposing argument.

  • Sevo||

    "This utterly destroys the opposing argument."

    See above re: Tax, 11:35PM. I'm not sure that plain language carries the day.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It can certainly be used as evidence in the court of public opinion.

    Damning evidence that the Obama Administration is talking out of both sides of their ass, I'd say.

  • Sevo||

    "What Gruber said DURING the formulation of the law can be cited in court."

    That is an opinion by a practicing lawyer?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    He definitely needs more practice.

  • ThomasD||

    It is my understanding he is a signatory of an amicus brief, and that these earlier statements are directly contradictory to some of the content of that brief.

    It would seem Gruber open the door to his own refutation if nothing else.

  • ||

    Was Jonathan Gruber the one who fell off the building, or the one who died in a helicopter. Either way Yippee kiyay motherfucker.

  • Sevo||

    "Was Jonathan Gruber the one who fell off the building, or the one who died in a helicopter."

    Not yet.
    Did you have something in mind?

  • Chumby||

    Think that was Hans Gruber.

  • ||

    Was Jonathan Gruber the one who fell off the building, or the one who died in a helicopter. Either way Yippee kiyay motherfucker.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    Tthe Odministration is probably weighing those options for Mr. Gruber right now.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I hope Gruber isn't too chubby, because if he is it's going to hurt like heck when they shove him down the old Memory Hole.

  • Warrren||

    The Memory Hole grows as needed.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    I like this take.

    Well? So? Where is ‘Amy’[the staffer/ real author]? Why haven’t we heard from her? Remember, whoever she is, she’s some staffer with a law degree and career aspirations who works/worked for some (D) Senator or Congressman. She totally believes in Obamacare. She could totally heroically defend Obamacare against evil righties by stepping forward now and telling her side of the story. And literally all the players who would need to be involved have every incentive in the world to step forward and convey to us this crucial information, which could save the insurance plans of millions of poor Americans, that ‘by the State under 1311′ was Just A Mistake.

    And they haven’t! Not for months and months! As a whole case about it has dragged through the courts!

    Under the Just A Mistake theory, this is pretty inexplicable.

    Under the ‘carrot’ theory, however, it makes perfect sense: there is no ‘Amy’ to find to testify to the ‘mistake’, because it wasn’t a ‘mistake’.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I guess we can take some solace in the fact that they haven't convinced someone to blatantly lie. Yet.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    If coming forward didn't require testifying in federal court, I'm sure there'd have been hundreds claiming some credit.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    In this case, a hard drive just may spontaneously assemble itself.

  • Warrren||

    Any's been in a lesbian relationship with Gloria this whole time and disturbing them in their happiness over politics would be cisnormative micro-aggression.

  • Warrren||

    Amy....goddammit.

  • PapayaSF||

    Nice, Sidd.

  • John Thacker||

    was unearthed tonight by Ryan Radia at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

    In his post, Ryan Radia kindly notes that it was brought to his attention by a commenter at the Volokh Conspiracy. So reading the comments can occasionally be a good idea.

  • Sevo||

    To whom do we owe thanks? Any idea?

  • RichW||

    Me.

  • Sevo||

    THANKS!

  • PapayaSF||

    Great. If it was a commenter, he will rank with the guy who spotted the faked Bush TANG memos done in MS Word.

    Mark my words, this is significant.

  • RichW||

    I've had this video since probably Christmas. I tried to get it to the media around January when I saw the lawsuit coming through Oklahoma. Nobody would take it.

  • PBR Streetgang||

    RichW, Thank you!

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Excellent job, RichW. You're doing the job a journalist should be doing.

  • RichW||

    That's exactly what I've been thinking. The media must get overwhelmed with wacko stuff.

  • PapayaSF||

    I tried to get it to the media around January when I saw the lawsuit coming through Oklahoma. Nobody would take it.

    Un-frickin'-believable. Must be more of that right-wing media bias the left is always talking about.

    Again, thanks, RichW!

  • Brochettaward||

    See, we already had this confirmed. It was stated directly by that idiot Max Baucus.

    The problem is, the media doesn't care. They are in the tank for Obamacare, and will continue to repeat their propaganda that it was just a mistake or typo.

  • Faceless Commenter||

    I have the feeling this is going to go a bit viral.

  • ChrisL||

    "It was stated directly by that idiot Max Baucus."

    Got a source? That will become important soon I think

  • Brochettaward||

    CATO has brought it up a number of times:

    Finally, Sen. Baucus’ original bill contained similar language (“the Secretary shall… establish and operate the exchanges within the State,” emphasis added). Yet Baucus confirmed that tax credits were available only in states that established their own Exchanges.
    http://www.cato.org/publicatio.....bamacare-1

    The motives of the Democrats in the Senate who voted for this isn't speculative. It was all laid out for them. The guy who technically authored the bill said it in black and white.

  • John Thacker||

    What's interesting is to compare Halbig to the recent Aereo case. In Aereo, all nine Justices basically agreed that the Copyright Law as written by Congress didn't cover Aereo, which had found a loophole. However, they all basically agreed that Congress, had it anticipated Aereo, would have banned it. As expected, Scalia wrote a dissent urging the letter of the law and the text, and supporting Aereo, whereas Breyer upheld the spirit of the law and Congress's intent, and making Aereo illegal.

    In my experience, plenty of progressives very upset about Halbig were equally upset that Aereo's loophole didn't get upheld by their liberal Justices. But one man's carefully following the law to earn its protection is another person's loophole.

    The Justices overall are much more consistent than ordinary people.

  • PapayaSF||

    If Congress passes a law that specifies benefits for veterans or people over 65, and the administration spends that money on non-veterans or people under 65, that's not taking advantage of a "loophole." That's not "something the framers of the law didn't anticipate." That's ignoring the law.

    Aereo really did exploit a loophole, and is much more arguable either way than Halbig.

  • John Thacker||

    Yes, I can grant that it was a closer case in that sense (OTOH, diving Congressional intent 40 years later is more difficult than diving Congressional intent 6 years later, for people who play that Congressional intent game.) But even so, plenty of liberals and progressives in my experience really were outraged that their preferred loophole wasn't supported by the Supreme Court.

    Most ordinary people don't care about judicial philosophy, they make their decision based on good guys vs. bad guys.

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh, indeed.

  • Homple||

    What difference, at this point, DOES IT MAKE?

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Back by popular demand...

    Salon Parodics @Salondotcom · 21m

    New evidence confirms that Jesus was a lesbian - and the religious right is having a meltdown of biblical proportions

  • Sevo||

    C'mon, Sidd, you trolling for Eddie?

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    Searched "Gruber" on Twitter for hot takes and salty tears. Saw this instead:

    Mitch @gruber_ben · 1h

    Finally ordered my crocs, be here in 15 business days..so pumped!!!!

    This guy has 155 followers. I don't understand the world anymore.

  • Sevo||

    "This guy has 155 followers. I don't understand the world anymore."

    Got a survey from Institute for Justice today asking did I like social media.
    Sorry I didn't have this to use as evidence for why I don't.

  • Brian D||

    Obamacare’s defenders have responded by saying that this is obviously ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense in the larger context of the law, and what’s more, no one who supported the law or voted for it ever talked about this.

    To be fair, no one who supported the law or voted for it actually read the law.

  • timb||

    Does anyone know when Gruber was elected to Congress?

    Also, did anyone tell Peter that the textualism used to in Statutory Construction cases requires the Judge to ignore legislative history. Otherwise, the mountain of evidence of Congress's desire to cover everyone means, per Chevron, that the IRS reading of the law is reasonable and thus the statute stands.

    In other words, if Peter hopes for the joy of freedom from the pain of health insurance can reign free over his New Gilded Age, perhaps he should try to be consistent. 'Cause, if you want to delve into legislative history and statements regarding Federal Exchanges, then you end up where the 4th Circuit was and where the First Circuit will be after en banc ruling.

    Honestly, gotcha journalism at its lowest form. Can't libertarians just go around slapping poor people, rather than actively working to fuck them?

  • ant1sthenes||

    On the other hand, their attempt to completely strip all Medicaid funding from the states that did not establish exchanges is evidence that they valued bringing the states under their bootheel more than helping those in need.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Can't libertarians just go around slapping poor people, rather than actively working to fuck them?"

    Can't asshole lefties argue in good faith for once?

  • rugburner||

    Do you have to ask? No.

  • UCrawford||

    "Honestly, gotcha journalism at its lowest form."

    You mean the kind where they catch politicians and pundits in blatant lies contradicting their stated positions on laws they passed or supported?

    That's just called journalism. It works the same whether it's a conservative, libertarian or libtard who gets caught being the liar.

  • Loki||

    Can't libertarians just go around slapping poor people, rather than actively working to fuck them?

    Careful, that strawman you just lit ablaze might get out of control and you could die in a fire. If that were to happen, I will get very choked up. Honestly there could be tears.

  • sasob||

    Yes; all that smoke, you know.

  • kevin wern||

    E. Warren says run on Obamacare this fall, make it priority #1 on the stump. Talk it up .

  • Super Hans||

    It's abundantly clear that the intent was to make sure voters would pressure their State to set up exchanges, since the Feds couldn't force the States themselves.

  • JohnLocke||

    That guy should be a politician, he has the lying thing down already, what more qualifications does one need to run for office?

  • Vision2||

    1) There must be work documents and communications with Congressional and administration staffers for this guy. Congress should subpena them and review. Let's see if his hard drive crashes also.

    2) Are Amicus briefs submitted to federal Courts considered sworn testimony? If so, this guy has perjured himself. A congressional committee should squeeze him for details. Also, the Appellate courts should confront him. If he takes the fifth, we have another potential coverup and scandal.

  • Number 2||

    Briefs are not testimony. Still, it is never a good idea for an attorney to have publicly state a legal position that is directly contrary to what he later argues in a brief, at least without a very good explanation.

  • Butler||

    It's not sworn testimony, but if they guy is an attorney, he could face disciplinary action for violation of the ethical rules concerning candor before the court.

    I wouldn't hold my breath though. Rules are for the pleebs, not the king's men.

  • Chumby||

    All of the emails were lost in a weird hard drive crash. And all the backups are gone too.

  • TallDave||

    People are making too much of this. All he's saying is that if you like your verifiable objective facts, you can keep your verifiable objective facts.

    Period.

  • Tony||

    Just preceding the passage you quoted:

    "So these health-insurance Exchanges, you can go on ma.healthconnector.org and see ours in Massachusetts, will be these new shopping places and they’ll be the place that people go to get their subsidies for health insurance. In the law, it says if the states don’t provide them, the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it."

  • Adam330||

    So? No one is arguing the federal government can't create exchanges for states that don't create their own. the issue is whether premium subsidies are available on those exchanges. And Gruber answers that definitively- they are not.

  • Tony||

    Actually he says definitively the opposite and that what he said was a mistake. Not that what he said then or now is legally relevant.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|7.25.14 @ 12:57PM|#
    "Actually he says definitively the opposite and that what he said was a mistake. Not that what he said then or now is legally relevant."

    And, Johnny, we have the new, improved straw-grasper for the contestant!
    Thanks for playing!

  • Adam330||

    He says that now after it has become clear the threat didn't work. And it turns out he made that "mistake" multiple times.

  • yofed||

    not only did he make a mistake multiple times, but went in depth on the why. it wasn't simply a speak-o, but a full explanation-o.

  • Number 2||

    Seriously... A typo?!?! The single most important piece of social legislation since the 1960s , the achievement of what (according to Obama) American Presidents have wanted for a hundred years -- a no one bothered to proofread it for errors? What about all those Ivy League staffers, attorneys, consultants, etc, working for the Congressional Democrats and the Administration, not to mention lobbyists, who's sole function is to scour legislation and tweak the details. What about all the left-wing law professors in Obama's camp? NOBODY noticed the typo????

    Fortunately, the American voters see this as just one additional piece of proof that the PPACA is an abortion on a plate.

  • Tony||

    Nobody thinks it was passed under ideal circumstances.

  • UCrawford||

    Of course not. Ideal circumstances would have involved a President who wasn't a blithering idiot and who understood the law.

    That kind of President would never have signed off on this law. But then that's not the kind of President that people like yourself elected.

  • yofed||

    ideal circumstances would have been putting it online for 5 days before it was signed, like the most transparent administration in history promised with all legislation. nancy pelosi was right: we'll find out what's in it after it's passed. and that it's passed, we are finding out what is in it.

  • The Last American Hero||

    I'm not going to sugarcoat this...

  • Sevo||

    Number 2|7.25.14 @ 10:40AM|#
    "Seriously... A typo?!?!"

    By now, Tony's honesty in what he posts is an open question.
    What isn't in dispute is his habit of grasping as the thinnest straw, hoping that somehow his worship of Obo the lying bastard is not a colossal waste of time and energy.
    Tony defended him while his views on gays 'evolved' and ended up weather-vaning into what the population favored. He's defended his 'civil rights postition' while black and brown kids are tossed in the slammer for a toke.
    Tony is a bleever; you argue with his faith, so facts and reason are irrelevant.

  • Number 2||

    Dear Sevo,

    You misunderstand! Tony unambiguously agrees with us. His post to the contrary is clearly a typo.

  • NoAuthority||

    Just another thought. I'm involved with the finance department at the health exchange for Washington state. Every penny they spend they turn around and draw from federal funds. Is the WA exchange really a state exchange? Are any of them?

  • Diggs||

    Another Obama worshiper is willing to lie through his teeth, and risk his personal reputation in order to add one more crutch to this hobbling disaster of an administration. Big deal. There are literally millions of people, from every member of the White House Press, through 90% of print media editors, to IRS officials, military leaders, DOJ, EPA, NSA, pretty much anyone with influence in the DC area, who are willing to go down in personal flames if it will help in one small way to prop up the idea that Obama is "The One".

  • Loki||

    Unless this video is a fraud or there are relevant details missing, there are only two options here: Either Gruber, a key influence on the legislation who wrote part of the law and who consulted with multiple states on setting up their own exchanges, was correct, and the law explicitly limits subsidies to state-run exchanges.

    Or he was wrong in a way that perfectly aligns with both the clear text of the legislation and the argument later made by the challengers to the IRS rule allowing susbidies in federal exchanges.

    There is a third option: he's a lying shit weasel who will spout whatever bullshit talking point he needs to.

  • Loki||

    "It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it`s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states."

    A typo is usually a single accidentally mis-spelled word. How many sentences/ pages was the section dealing with the tax credits? How many references to tax credits being only available through state run exchanges? I don't see how this could possibly be a "typo." What a load of horseshit. I don't see how anyone could possibly be stupid enough to buy this crap. But I'm sure Tony or some other retarded sock puupet will be on here soon, if they're not already.

  • Loki||

    He also explains early on that his entire presentation is made of "verifiable objective facts."
    ...

    Gruber says the statement in the video was "a mistake."

    Uh-huh. Sure. "I'll beleive that when me shit turns purple, and smells like rainbow sherbert."

  • Oblomov||

    Someone needs to explain to Mr Gruber and his federal buddies, that what they made was a bet (not a typing mistake). They bet that they could scare/force/bully states into accepting this law. They lost that bet, and now they are saying 'time out, do over'. These are the best, brightest and smartest people in the room? Laughable.

  • entropy_factor||

    ezra klien w/ Vox is a flaming pile of shit. He knows exactly what the narrative was, and what the text states, because he was on the frontlines in 2009/2010. So this "oh! we couldn't have known!" Is openly bullshit.

    There is video of Klien openly stating that the idea behind all of this is single payer. He lamented prog losses on previous attempts at health reform and advocated straight up dishonesty as a tool to "win one".

    I really wish I was keyed into the modern day Journo-list right now. The emails exchanged would be full of hurt rectums.

  • danhan||

    Gruber is quite articulate in his explanation of why the states are responsible for setting up the exchanges. It's a slam dunk. Game over.

  • Number 2||

    This is incredible! First, we are told that the clear and express wording of the single most significant piece of social legislation passed in decades was a typo. Second, an expert who was extremely influential in the crafting and preparation of the statute tells us that he "can't explain" why he described the statute one way when he now insists that the exact opposite of what he said is the only rational way to interpret the statute.

    Either Gruber and others like him are liars, or they are stupid.

    PS - I will have to try this argument the next time I am in court, particularly in contract cases. "does the contract say I will pay you for painting my house? And is obviously a typo."

  • Aloysious||

    Either Gruber and others like him are liars, or they are stupid.

    Why can't they be both? They're Leftists.

  • Ollie||

    "Yes, so these health insurance exchanges . . . will be these new shopping places and they’ll be the place that people go to get their subsidies for health insurance. IN THE LAW IT SAYS IF THE STATES DON'T PROVIDE THEM THE FEDERAL BACKSTOP WILL.[my caps] The federal government has been sort of slow in putting up its backstop in part because I think they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it.”

    For a magazine that calls itself "Reason", ya'll seem to be incapable or unwilling to do much of it.

  • Daily Dime||

    "IN THE LAW IT SAYS IF THE STATES DON'T PROVIDE THEM THE FEDERAL BACKSTOP WILL."

    Where in the law does it say this? Just because he says it's so doesn't mean it is. The "backstop" refers to the website to shop for insurance, not "to get their subsidies."

  • Ollie||

    The quote pretty clearly refers to the exchanges being "the place that people go to to get their subsidies" and that "if the states don't provide them the federal backstop will." I don't deny that his statement taken as a whole is a jumbled and contradictory mess, it is. Which is why trying to use some of his words to prove the point the article is trying to make is silly.

  • Daily Dime||

    But where does it say it in the law as written?

    Also, your point would be more valid if he hadn't implied on more than one occasion that the subsidy-for-state-exchange as written in the law is intended as a carrot and a stick.

  • Ollie||

    Where in the law? I have no idea. The relevant language is quoted in the 1st and 4th Circuits' opionion---look there. And those are also good reads if you want to understand why this guy's remarks may not be particularly relevant to the legal arguments. I mean, for everything potentially damning Gruber can be found to have said at one event or another, you can bet there will be found someone else who helped draft the law said the opposite. And so what? That's probably why the courts look at the congressional intent as a whole and not the just videos of rambling professors posted on YouTube.

  • Ollie||

    And, again, this is why these vidoes and such are pretty meaningless. In the vido posted here he says things that can be easily undersoood to have different meanings. I'll bet you could get anyone rambling and catch them making contradictory claims. So what? The video wasn't a deposition or sworn testimony. And clearly from his later statemnts, when he's asked directly about the intent of the law when it comes to involving the federal government in providing subsidies in states where there are no exchanges, he answers that the law was written to allow that. So which of his statements do we use?

  • some guy||

    Apples and oranges. Remember he's giving this speech in Mass., a state that everyone knew was going to have its own exchange. However, if a State's exchange has trouble there is a provision in the law for the federal government to step in and help out. In other words, the subsidies only apply in states that establish their own exchanges and the subsidies are guaranteed by the federal government. It's win-win for state's that establish their own exchanges. That was the message he was spouting. There's no contradiction.

  • Ollie||

    I don't know where in the actual law or any contemporaneous docuents, tesimony or statements you can find evidence to support your interpretation.

  • Ollie||

    And when I say your interpretaion, I mean the part about federal subsidies only being available to state-established exchange that 'has trouble.'

  • Daily Dime||

    I know what the law says regarding subsidies for those who get insurance through the exchanges: "covered by a qualified health plan described in subsection (b)(2)(A) that was enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State under section 1311."

    It states in plain language that people are only eligible for a subsidy if they get their insurance through STATE exchanges. The 4th Circuit didn't interpret the law, as courts are supposed to do, but is attempting to legislate from the bench.

  • Ollie||

    That's true---it says those very words. It also says many other things. Which is why the court didn't single out one clause out of thousands upon thousands to determine congrssional intent. The 4th Circuit ruling, whether you like the result or don't, is not a wild piece of judicial legislation. It is well within the mainstream of legal reasoning.

  • Daily Dime||

    Their role is to determine what the law says, not what they think it says, or what they think was the intent. Nowhere in the law does it say that the subsidies are available to people who get their insurance through a Federally-established exchange. However, it does say that ONLY those who get their insurance through a state-established exchange are eligible for a subsidy. It's very plain. The judges simply chose to ignore what was on the page and allow bureaucrats to make law, just as was done with the contraceptive mandate.

    This country is supposed to be governed by the rule of law, not the rule of man.

  • Ollie||

    This is why this is so silly. If you read the 4th Circuit's opinion, it's all laid out for you. Judge Gregory HAD to determine congressional intent because the various parts of the law can be reasonably read to mean very different things. That is what judges do. They judge. With judgement.

  • ULOST||

    You give short shrift to the meaning of "reasonably read." There is nothing reasonable about this and so many other decisions.

  • Ollie||

    You seem to imply that you have the standard for what can be called "reasonably read." But, again, there is nothing in the 4th Circuit's opinion that is outside the mainstream of judicial reasoning. There simply isn't. One can disagree with the decision, but if you claim that it is somehow not legally well-reasoned, it is your arguement that would be the radical one. Not the court's.

  • Ollie||

    Really. Go read the oopinion---it's only 46 pages. Then explain how it's not reasonable.

  • Ianzyukon||

    The democrats usually have a reason for what they say or do but it often backfires. For example:

    1. They almost certainly wrote the Obamacare law the way they did to encourage States to create exchanges. In 2012 Gruber made a big point about only folks on State exchanges getting the the tax credits. Unfortunately the States either didn't get the memo or, ignored it so the law could eventually be shot down resulting in the mess we have today.

    2. Pelosi decided to sound like the idiot she is by saying "We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It" because if she admitted knowing what was in the bill and answered questions about it honestly, it would never have passed. Maybe I'm giving her too much credit!!!!!!!!

  • ULOST||

    Gruber can add vile liar to his resume.

  • ||

    America If you lose your coverage, your medicine, your doctor, your insurance, your job, BLAME a Democrat. If your rates go up astronomically and you can’t get what you were promised……Next time you go and vote...remember WHO did this to YOU! DEMOCRATS!

  • RodgerMitchell||

    Note to Republicans. Be careful what you wish for.

    If you "succeed," either:

    1. The ACA will disappear, and the voters will blame you
    or
    2. Just the red states will lose federal funding and -- that's right -- the voters will blame you.

    This should be fun to watch.

  • Ingsoc||

    No, the whole system collapses because it was a poorly written and fraudulent law from the outset.

  • rugburner||

    Cmon everyone, this is just another phony scandal made up by racist teabaggers. Amirite?

  • GenePoz||

    SO typical of Republicans & Libertarians to take statements OUT OF CONTEXT. The Reason.com article conveniently leaves out the previous 2 sentences in the video (Thanks, Tony and Ollie):

    "...these health insurance exchanges...will be the user shopping places people go to get their subsidies for health insurance. In the law it states that if the state governments don’t provide them, the federal backstop will. The federal government has been kind of slow in putting on its backstop because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it."
    Clearly, Gruber is saying the FEDERAL LAW PROVIDES SUBSIDIES, and the reference to the “federal backstop,” is about federal ADMINISTRATIVE RULES. So Obama is perfectly free to change those rules!
    __And hey, guys: THAT is what this article was about--whether or not Gruber admitted federal exchanges didn't cover subsidies. Now that it's proven that the Senior Editor of Reason.com wasted an entire article making a FALSE STATEMENT, don't change the subject!

  • Ingsoc||

    You're still living in fantasy land. Pay attention and stop trying to shift the dialectic in a blind fit of partisan rage. You are one of the stupid ones.

  • GTengEmorylaw||

    If this is true then why would he say citizens (of a particular state) would be missing out on subsidies if the exchange was not set up by the state. He seemed pretty emphatic about this. I don't like the law but it seems strange to me that the drafters would not explicitly state that subsidies/tax credits were available regardless of whether the exchange was state or federal. The only reason I can think of is that they wanted the state (and its citizens) to be penalized if they did not set up the exchange. Can you give the cite where the law states subsidies are available through federally run exchanges because I have never seen it.

  • bobw66554322||

    And in this clip Gruber explains that the law was written in a "tortured manner" to get it passed, and that the passage depended on "the stupidity of the American voter." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G790p0LcgbI

  • Ingsoc||

    When is it OK to unabashedly call out someone as a f-ing liar? I'm all for decorum, but I'm growing weary of inappropriate civility. This has to stop. This is an incredible display of hubris and an open act of fraud on a scale that is incomprehensible. Our system of government is a sham.

  • DevilsPrinciple||

    It's shame that tar and feathers are no longer a punishment. What's amazing is that the room is full of scientists and mathematicians which means that they were complicit in this lie.

    Then they wonder why they lose elections and no one believes their "global warming" theory.

  • GTengEmorylaw||

    Gruber is making assumptions based on facts that are not as he states. his three leg test falls apart from the start because there is no individual mandate. A mandate is not something you can avoid by simply by paying a penalty (or tax) as individuals can do under the law. Additionally, an extremely significant number (if not a majority) of uninsured employees will end up with no insurance or a mini medical plan meeting "minimum essential coverage" that is basically worthless if you have to go to a hospital. You may ask why? The reason is because there are no subsidies/tax credits available for employees on an ACA compliant insurance plan, so low paid workers will not be willing to pay the ACA allowed premium share equal to 9.5% of their salary. For a minimum wage employee this premium contribution is around $90.00 a month for a plan that (assuming a Bronze level ACA HSA) has over $6,000 in out of pocket costs. Consequently, almost all such employees will reject the employer sponsored plan and thus become ineligible for subsidies/tax credits in a state or federal exchange plan (assuming federal exchanges are allowed to offer subsidies by supreme court). Rather than pay $90.00 a month for a worthless plan such employees will just pay the penalty or take an equally worthless mini-medical plan (meeting MEC requirements) to cover the penalty. Did Mr. Gruber read the law, because for the uninsured low paid employee its a total failure!!

  • GTengEmorylaw||

    I should have been clearer by stating subsidies/tax credits are not available to an employer sponsored plan that complies with ACA (MEC requirements and affordability requirements)

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