At Reason, Peter Suderman writes:
In the week since video surfaced of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber saying that “lack of transparency” and “the stupidity of the American voter” were critical to passing the health law, two more videos of Gruber making statements with similar themes or tones have received attention.
Both clips reveal a gleefully dismissive attitude toward public concerns about the law, and offer a telling reminder of the attitude that played a crucial role in shaping and selling the law to the public. …
This is the person whom the White House relied on to help craft the bill; he was paid handsomely to model its effects (a fact he did not disclose, even when asked), and he was in the room when important decisions were made about how it would work. He claims to have helped write specific portions of the law himself. Gruber was not the sole architect of the law, but he was one of its biggest single influences on both its design and on how the media, which quoted him repeatedly, reported and understood the law.
The White House and its allies are desperately trying to distance themselves from Gruber right now by downplaying his role in the law’s creation. But the record of his involvement is clear enough: At The Washington Post, Ezra Klein has variously described Gruber as “one of the key architects behind the structure of the Affordable Care Act” and “the most aggressive academic economist supporting the reform effort.” The New York Times in 2012 described his role as helping to design the overall structure as well as being “dispatched” by the White House to Congress to write the legislative text. Gruber’s work was cited repeatedly by the White House, Democratic leadership, and the media.
So when he describes the thinking about how the law was crafted and sold to the public, it’s worth taking note. This is the posture of one of the law’s authors and chief backers. It’s part of the spirit in which the law was created and passed. Gruber’s ideas were embedded in the law’s structure and language, and so was his attitude.