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July 25, 2014

ObamaCare Architect: Subsidies Only for State Exchanges

MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber was instrumental in crafting ObamaCare. In fact, he was paid nearly $400,000 for consultation with the administration. So what did he have to say about subsidies for buying health insurance? In 2012, he said, “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.’” Translation: Subsidies are available only on state exchanges, not the federal one – just as the DC Circuit Court ruled the law’s text says. The administration still argues that they can give subsidies to everyone, regardless of what the law says. And now that Gruber is forced to defend the law, naturally he claims the exclusion of the federal exchange was “a typo.”

Hat tip: Reason’s Peter Suderman: “The relevant passage starts around minute 31.”

Update: Gruber now describes his 2012 comments as “a speak-o – you know, like a typo.” Furthermore, he explained, “Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.” We’ll agree Congress made a mistake drafting the law – it never should have been drafted. But Gruber is at best BSing now about what he said then. There’s more audio of Gruber distinguishing between state and federal exchanges here. Did he commit the same “speak-o” more than once?

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