During sworn congressional testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee Tuesday, MIT Professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber attempted to distance himself from the Obama administration as lawmakers grilled him with questions about the deception used to pass the legislation. He also tried to distinguish his comments about deception from the content and impact of the Affordable Care Act.
“I did not write Governor Mitt Romney's health care plan. I am not the architect of Obamacare,” Gruber said. "I behaved badly, and I will have to live with that, but my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act."
"Let me be very clear, I do not think that the Affordable Care Act was passed in a non-transparent fashion. The issues I raised in my comments, such as redistribution of risk through insurance market reform and the structure of the Cadillac tax, were roundly debated throughout 2009 and early 2010 before the law was passed. Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of these policies, but it is completely clear that these issues were debated thoroughly during the drafting and passage of the ACA," he added.
Before Obamacare was passed and when it was in the process of being written, Gruber visited the White House 21 times and met directly with President Obama in the Oval Office. He was praised by a number of Democrats, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as the expert media should talk to about the legislation. He's known as "the man" on the Obamacare. Back in 2007 during a Brooking's Institute event, then Senator Obama said he "liberally steals ideas" from Gruber.
In his opening statement, Gruber addressed "inexcusable" comments that landed him on Capitol Hill in the first place about "stupid Americans," a lack of transparency and deception in the language of Obamacare to hide the redistribution of wealth. He issued multiple apologies throughout the hearing and attempted to claim he isn't an expert when it comes to the discussion of the healthcare law, despite being paid millions of dollars as an Obamacare consultant to the government.
"In excerpts of these videos I am shown making a series of glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting comments," Gruber said. “I tried to make myself seem smarter by demeaning others.”
“I made a series of inexcusable comments,” he added. "I apologize."
When pressed on the amount of money he received for his work on Obamacare, Gruber refused to state how much taxpayer funding from both the state and federal governments he personally received as payment for his work on the Affordable Care Act.
One of the main missions of the Oversight Committee is to ensure taxpayer money is being spent properly. When Gruber was pressed by different Republican Congressmen, including Chairman Darrell Issa, Jason Chaffetz and Jim Jordan, he referred questions about income statements related to taxpayer money to his legal counsel.
According to various media sources and government documents, Gruber was paid more than $5 million in taxpayer money for his work and consultation on Obamacare through state and federal government contracts.