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Architect of Obamacare: You only get tax credits if buy on state exchange (Video)

Architect of Obamacare: You only get tax credits if buy on state exchange (Video)

In 2012 it made perfect sense to Jonathan Gruber, now he calls it a typo.

In the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Halbig case, the court held that under Obamacare as drafted, federal subsidies in the form of tax credits only are available to individuals who purchase on state exchanges, not on the federal exchange.

The Court in Halbig relied on the wording of the statute and its plain meaning. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, found that there might be an ambiguity, and that there were possible other interpretations.

Jonathan Gruber, Professor at MIT, widely is regarded as the architect of both Romneycare and Obamacare.

In 2012, Gruber gave a speech in which he stated that the law clearly provided for tax credits only if the individual purchased on a state exchange:

“I think 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.”

He goes out to point out the politics of the provision, which would put pressure on states to make sure their own citizens received subsidies by opening state exchanges.

The excerpt appears at 31:30 of the full video.

This is important because this reading of the law has been dismissed by critics of the Halbig decision as absurd and even dishonest.

Not according to the Architect of Obamacare.

(Note: A reader who wishes to remain anonymous tipped me off to this video, which he saw linked and commented himself on in the comment section of other blogs, such as Volokh Conspiracy and Forbes.)

Update: Gruber two days ago on Chris Matthews show claimed that the very explanation he discussed in 2012 was just a “typo” and that it’s “criminal” to suggest, as he did in 2012, that the law worked the way the Halbig court said it did. (h/t @AG_Conservative) Credibility is a terrible thing to lose just to save a law from its normal, natural meaning as written.

The New Republic is trying to salvage this public relations disaster for Democrats, by quoting Gruber today (7-25-2014) as follows:

I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.


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Terrific get! Great great blog.

inspectorudy | July 24, 2014 at 9:50 pm

I wonder if the idiots on the $th Circuit knew about this video? Do you think they even tried to find it? Reading their decision it appeared that Congress’s intent was not available to them as if Congress was an ancient organization and it’s speeches and debates were lost to history.

    That view is necessary to justify a ruling declaring, “We don’t know what the hell Congress meant, so we’ll trust the IRS to decide what Congress must have originally intended. After all, everyone can trust the IRS.”

    I wonder if the IRS will be trusted to interpret the law in other cases as well. If so, I’m not sure what we need the 4th Circuit for anymore.

    ConradCA in reply to inspectorudy. | July 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    It was the plaintiffs job to present this video as evidence to support their case.

And, this same reading of the law was dismissed by none other than….

Jonathan Gruber. Per this Mother Jones article from Jan 2013 (one year after the video above)

“Jonathan Gruber, who helped write former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law as well as the Affordable Care Act, calls this theory a ‘screwy interpretation’ of the law. ‘It’s nutty. It’s stupid.'”

So… in Jan 2012, Gruber unambiguously stated that, under the law, people in states under Federal exchanges didn’t get subsidies — and the reason for this was to put pressure on the states to establish exchanges. When that backfired so dramatically, it then became convenient a year later to switch positions 180 degrees. Now it is “screwy… nutty… stupid.”


Clearly Halbig is not an absurd interpretation… and it’s clearly not screwy… nutty… stupid. And, contrary to Edwards’s dissent, it also looks like it wasn’t conveniently created whole cloth after the fact by people who just wanted to tear the law down.

There was no invention by Cannon & Adler. In fact, if I have my timing right, they published their theory July 2012 ( — that was six months AFTER this video of Gruber was filmed.

    Observer in reply to bostonlegal. | July 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Gruber appears to be a typical leftist, in that he will lie and say whatever appears to be most politically expedient at the moment. Thank goodness somebody videotaped his remarks, so there is clear and indisputable evidence of his hypocrisy and dishonesty.

    Yep, the democratic apppointed judge who voted against in this case specifically said the other two were making their ruling out of whole cloth basically.
    Someone should go back to that democratic appointed judge and ask him now who is really making up rulings out of whole cloth.
    And a lot of the reason Gruber made it state based was to try and put pressure on the Republican governors. Totally political.

MouseTheLuckyDog | July 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm

!. Good! Well maybe. So now to investigate what the legal ramifications of this are.
2. Did Gruber have any kind of formal role? If he is just some “guru” type who threw out ideas but had no real role in the formation of the legislation, then his statement can be dismissed as someone who doesn’t have substantive knowledge of how the legislation was put together.
3. How hard is it to introduce such statements at this late point, given that the case has been ruled? My understanding is that enbanc appeals and the SCOTUS are not allowed to hear new evidence.

    He was an adviser to Obama. Obama loaned him out to the Senate to help them craft the legislation and make sure the numbers were favorable… which all leads back to the STATE exchanges. The fed didn’t budget money to run a healthcare exchange for over half the country because they figured they’d bully the states into eating that cost themselves and they’d get a more acceptable score from the CBO.

It was obvious to me from the outset that the States were being extorted.

Thank God for LI and camera phones!

Obviously there’s a penumbra involved in here somewhere. Perhaps it’s a living bill, you know, much like a slug or a slime of some sort.

Progressive cries of “that was taken out of context!” in 5..4..3…

Should have asked Gruber, Nancy. ‘Itsa’ “typo”.

but we have to pass the bill, so you can find out what’s in it

“you” (meaning WE) still don’t know “what’s in it”, Nancy..

The law says what it says, literally.

This guy goes on video saying, “yes, that’s what it says and we mean what it says. We want to squeeze the states to do it.”

Now he(they) goes, “what it says is not what it says.”

Definitely, it’s an ongoing criminal enterprise.
They think they can change the rules whenever it fits their convenience.
The rule of law has become a joke.

architect of romney-needing-fed-$$-to-survive-care and architect of obamacare.
and iirc one of romneys advisors.
great guy, gotta love him and people like him…..yeah…

Update: Earlier this week, Gruber was on MNSBC to address the Halbig ruling. He was asked if the language limiting subsidies to state-run exchanges was a typo. His response: “It is unambiguous this is a typo. Literally every single person involved in the crafting of this law has said that it`s a typo, that they had no intention of excluding the federal states.”


Yes, because Jonathan Gruber is Congress.

    Ragspierre in reply to Gus. | July 25, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Stupid trolls gotta troll…stupidly.

      Ah, so Gruber IS Congress.

      I wonder why not one state read the typo as overtaking the intent of the ACA, like the Halbig plaintiffs did.

        Ragspierre in reply to Gus. | July 25, 2014 at 1:24 pm

        No, liar. You don’t “wonder” anything. You chant lying-points from your punk-meisters of teh moonbattery.

        Which one published that one? C’mon…you can tell us. Give us the link.

    Observer in reply to Gus. | July 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

    LOL. No, Gruber wasn’t congress — he was just the guy Obama sent to congress to instruct them how to write the ACA.

    But of course, that information comes from the severely right-wing rag, the NY Times, so we probably can’t trust it.

    Observer in reply to Gus. | July 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    From the NY Times (in 2012):

    “Along with these credentials, Mr. Gruber’s position as an adviser to the influential Congressional Budget Office also left him perfectly positioned to advise the White House on health reform.

    . . . .

    “After Mr. Gruber helped the administration put together the basic principles of the proposal, the White House lent him to Capitol Hill to help Congressional staff members draft the specifics of the legislation.

    . . . .

    “Even though he was brought in by the White House, Congressional staff members from both parties trusted him because he was seen as an econometric wonk, not a political agent. But soon his very involvement with the bill caused questions about his objectivity to be raised in the news media.

    “During and after the bill’s slog through Congress, he frequently spoke with reporters and wrote opinion pieces supporting the Affordable Care Act but did not always mention his role in helping to devise it.

    “He says he regrets not being more upfront about his involvement with the administration.

    “Yes, I want the public to be informed by an objective expert,” he says. “But the thing is, I know more about this law than any other economist.”

    But this Gruber guy clearly had nothing to do with creating the ACA, right gus?


    Midwest Rhino in reply to Gus. | July 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Gruber was one of those writing the bill, when Pelosi informed Congress, “you have to pass the bill to find out what is in it”

    So yes, Pelosi/Democrats had made Gruber and his ilk the de facto Congress replacement on this issue. No debate needed, the law was not even fully written … just a big “redistribution” of power from the Congress to the bureaucrats in the White House basement.

      Haha, de facto Congress. Funny that you have to rely on such an obtuse position in support of the Halbig decision, which itself relied on the most obtuse reading of the law possible.

      Dishonest idealogues will bitterly cling to whatever confirms their biases after all.

        Ragspierre in reply to Gus. | July 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        You purrrr lying SOS. Are you going to PRETEND that ObamaDoggle was NOT written by interest groups? The accounts are legion. (I know you have trouble with reading outside the Lie-0-tron of the moonbattery, but you really should TRY…)

        High-larrious the lies a Collectivist bung-sucker will attempt in pitiful attack on a plain-word reading of a bill by an appellate court.

        Midwest Rhino in reply to Gus. | July 25, 2014 at 1:51 pm

        have to rely on such an obtuse position”

        Not relying on it, it was your obtuse point, which I was just turning in a way to make the genuine point, to help you get a clue.

        He was a lead guy and had told of his logic behind the punishment to states that didn’t start an exchange. Then he lies and flips to say it was a “typo”. You really want to defend this clown?

          No, professor, I’m not “defending” Gruber. I’m pointing out that he’s not Congress (nor is he “de facto” Congress), and therefore his musings don’t matter.

      Ragspierre in reply to Midwest Rhino. | July 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Video of Max “The Liar” Bacus reinforcing the whole point of the WORDING of the ObamaDoggle bill.

A word to Mr. Gruber:
“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

I would like to see a federal subsidy for your public flogging (in a PC kind of way, of course).

“I was for the _blank_ before I was against the _blank_”

Gruber: “What I said was “if you’re a state …”. Clearly that’s absurd, since, well, NO ONE is a state. Am I a state? Are you a state? No! Hell, I’m not even a small city. See? Clearly ABSURD!”

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | July 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

A commenter at the Volokh post links to this NPR article describing how the House and Senate bills differed about the concept of exchanges. Apparently, the bill passed in the House provided for ONLY a federal exchange. The Senate Democrats wanted state exchanges.

    The House version was never voted on by the Senate. The bill that came out of the Senate began its life as a GI Homeowner’s bill in the House.

    Doesn’t matter what their INTENT may have been – what made it into codified law is what the Senate passed (without any amendments from the House).

      Jay Jones in reply to teresainfortworth. | July 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      Correct, the Senate changing the House’s bill so much (only keeping the bill number) has caused the admin to do verbal gymnastics over the origination clause and what the word “amend” means.

Funny – in the letter sent to the territories regarding how they would be affected by Obamacare, this interesting tidbit about what HHS uses for their interpretation of the term “State” was revealed:

“Currently, the Department uses the existing Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) definition of “state” for new PHS Act requirements and funding opportunities included in title I of the Affordable Care Act.”

And the PHS Act is quite clear on the definition of what a “State” is:

(f) Except as provided in sections 246 (g)(4)(B), [1] 247c (c)(1), [1] 254d (h)(3), [1] 263c(5), [1] 264 (d), 292a (9), [1] 300a (c), 300f (13), and 300n (1) [1] of this title, the term “State” includes, in addition to the several States, only the District of Columbia, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

The gymnastics that HHS is attempting in the case of exempting the territories/”states” from parts of Obamacare is, of course, a marvel to behold, but that’s a lawsuit for another day….

Midwest Rhino | July 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

It seems everyone from Obama’s administration will boldly lie, where no man has gone before. I mean, putting Ambassador Rice on the talk shows to tell a completely fabricated story (that video) that had probably been dreamed up even as Ambassador Stevens and other men were still dying.

A series of IRS men appear to boldly lie to Congress, this last one even declaring his integrity had never been challenged. It is like a red badge of courage, to lay down their integrity to aid in the overthrow of our country.

If Gruber made the “typo” testimony under oath, he should be imprisoned for perjury, but All the President’s Men and women are confident they will pay no price for lying.

So there was clear intent and purpose for this provision, even if it was really unconstitutional to coerce the states in such fashion. Withholding of Medicaid funds to states was specifically denied as a means to accomplish this same thing (iirc), but that still doesn’t allow the judges or executive to rewrite the law now.

It is just yet another reason the law is unconstitutional … the whole thing, because (I forget the term) it can’t be broken in pieces, which was why Roberts making it a tax saved the whole ACA.

This is almost as much fun as showing a burglar the video of said “innocent” burglar breaking into a house looking directly into the camera. Gruber should have worn a hoodie at his paid speechifying so he could claim it wasn’t him. Maybe he has a split personality? Or a closed head injury? PTSD? Alzheimers? Smarmy ass.

The Medicaid expansion section provided for witholding every cent of Federal Medicaid support from states that didn’t approve the Medicaid expansion. That’s not just denying new subsidies to people in those states, it’s taking away coverage from people who have been receiving it. All to convince the states to do what the Feds wanted.

It’s absurd to think that the subsidies were limited to states that created their own exchanges, but not absurd to cut off healthcare spending to states that didn’t expand Medicaid? Talk about your cognitive dissonance.

So typical of the elitist progressives…. they will outright blatantly lie to your face in order to advance their Marxist agenda. Disgusting pigs.

Oh, dear.

From the Wall Street Journal: Updated Jan. 14, 2010 12:01 a.m. ET

“. . . The press corps is agonizing, or claims to be agonizing, over the news of Jonathan Gruber’s conflict of interest: The MIT economist has been among the foremost promoters of ObamaCare—even as he had nearly $400,000 in consulting contracts with the Administration that weren’t disclosed in the many stories in which he was cited as an independent authority. . . ”

“Mr. Gruber is a health economist and former Clinton Treasury hand, as well an architect of Mitt Romney’s 2006 health plan in Massachusetts that so closely resembles ObamaCare. His econometric health-care modelling is well-regarded. So his $297,600 plum from the Department of Health and Human Services in March for “technical assistance” estimating changes in insurance costs and coverage under ObamaCare, plus another $95,000 job, is at least defensible.

However, this financial relationship only came to wide notice when Mr. Gruber wrote a commentary for the New England Journal of Medicine, which has a more stringent disclosure policy than most media outlets. . . ”

” . . . Mr. Orszag never mentioned Mr. Gruber’s contract. Nor did HHS disclose the contract when Mike Enzi, the ranking Republican on the Senate health committee, asked specifically for a list of all consultants as part of routine oversight in July. His request noted that “Transparency regarding these positions will help ensure that the public has confidence in the qualifications, character and abilities of individuals serving in these positions.” . . .”

This Mr. Gruber seems to have a questionable history.
Check the link for details.

Another audio statement of Gruber before the Senate Finance Committee has emerged. He says the same thing, of course.

Gruber is trying to use the same “speak-o” lie, but this was something he was reading from his prepared remarks. Did he prepare the “slip o’ the tongue” too?

ALL leftists are liars, PERIOD. Lying to them is a means to an end (power), a tactic. As such, it is never frowned upon and often applauded and encouraged.

This is how Obama retains his base through his serial lying. They don’t mind, they expect it. Anything to grab more power.

Of course, there is a large part of his base that isn’t doctrinaire leftist, just stupid and parasitic. They don’t care about his lies, either, as long as the gummint gravy keeps on flowing to their troughs.

Now that additional recordings have been found where he is stating the same message again and again, it would appear that this would be a form of testimony as to the reasoning behind the reasoning the lead to the language in the law. What I would like to hear from LI is if these tapes now have any real and legal, or even just off the record impact for future curt decisions regarding this case. I know that judges go back an look at testimony made in Congress as they debate these bills to get an idea of the thinking behind them to help with their rulings, but is this sufficient to help judges make future rulings? Any thoughts LI?

Okay, here is someone who was a sitting Senator at the time Obamacare was passed, warning the administration on 12/01/2011 that they didn’t have the authority to extend subsidies to the fed exchanges because the law stipulated they were to be used ONLY for state exchanges:

So what Gruber is basically saying is:

“Who are you going to believe, me or that lying video?”

Just when I think liberals can’t get have any less integrity…

Shockingly, Gruber WAS taken out of context. Let’s go to the video tape: