Jonathan Gruber is smart. He is an economist. He teaches at MIT. Do you teach at MIT? Of course you don’t. He is also the architect behind Obamacare. He is really, really smart. Did we mention that?
Of course, when you are as smart as Jonathan Gruber, it is difficult to resist the temptation to pull your light out from under the bushel on occasion; thus every once in a while there comes an embarrassing revelation. The conservative group American Commitment recently unearthed one such moment. During an interview at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber revealed that
this bill [the Affordable Care Act] was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in — you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. . . . Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass. . . . Look, I wish . . . that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.