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Jonathan Gruber Apologizes For Obamacare Remarks

Jonathan Gruber, the health care economist and former Obama administration adviser for the Affordable Care Act, backtracked from his statements about the law in a hearing on Tuesday in an attempt to reduce fallout.

In comments made in 2012 but unearthed recently, Gruber said the Affordable Care Act only passed because Democrats avoided explaining how the law worked and took advantage of the “stupidity of the American voter.” Gruber also suggested that individuals in states that do not set up a health care exchange under the law would not be eligible for federal tax credits, according to NBC News.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Jonathan Gruber” author_title=”Former Obama administration adviser for the ACA”]

I would like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that I made… 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 previously described himself as an “architect” of Obamacare, although he denied this label at the hearing on Tuesday and said his role had been inflated. Both Democrats and Republicans hounded Gruber over his comments, according to CNN.

Ranking member Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was “frustrated” because the comments “gave Republicans a public relations gift in their relentless political campaign to tear down the ACA.”

While he said he supports the law, Gruber’s statements appear to undercut arguments the Obama administration is now pushing in court cases that challenge the payment of premium subsidies in states that use the federal insurance exchange instead of their own exchange. The federal government provides a backstop when states do not establish their own exchange.

Gruber’s comments that citizens in states without their own exchange are not eligible for tax credits, a statement the Republicans have used in the latest effort to dismantle Obamacare. The White House has said that Congress intended for the subsidies to be available in all states, regardless of whether they used a state-run or federal exchange, according to the New York Times.

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