Main Text of Jonathan Gruber’s Videos
Jonathan Gruber: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO [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 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, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get anything to pass. ... Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not. ... So, yeah, there’s things I wish I could change, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
Ronan Farrow: “You have not publicly commented on this so far. Do you stand by the comments in that video?”
Jonathan Gruber: “We thought we had nothing. Then another Massachusetts hero, John Kerry—or more likely, his staff—came up with a great substitute idea. ... They said, ‘What if we instead just levied a 40 percent tax on the insurance companies that sell these terrible expensive Cadillac plans?’ We said, ‘Well, that’s pretty much the same thing. But why does it matter?’ ‘You’ll see.’ And we proposed it, and that passed because the American voters are too stupid to understand the difference.”
Jonathan Gruber: “Until a second Massachusetts hero arose, John Kerry. John Kerry said, ‘No, no, we’re not going to tax your health insurance; we’re going to tax those evil insurance companies. We’re going to impose a tax so that if they sell insurance that’s too expensive, we’re gonna tax them.’ And, conveniently, the tax rate will happen to be the marginal tax rate under the income tax code. So, basically, it’s the same thing. We just tax the insurance companies, they pass on higher prices, that offsets the tax break we get, and it ends up being the same thing. It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the, of the, lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”
Jonathan Gruber: “I was speaking off the cuff."