Right wingers are up in a tizzy today after a video and a new audio surfaced by Jonathan Gruber, a main architect of the ACA, who they say backs up Boehner's lawsuit.
The always great Jonathan Cohen interviewed Gruber to find out what happened:
Did the people who designed Obamacare intend to deprive millions of people of health insurance, just because officials in their states decided not to operate their own insurance marketplaces?
A lawsuit making its way through the federal judiciary, and perhaps on its way to the Supreme Court, claims the answer is yes. And while every federal official and member of Congress who worked on crafting the law in 2009 and 2010 disagrees, now there’s a video from 2012 in which one of the law’s best known advocates and architects—MIT economist Jonathan Gruber—makes the same basic argument that the lawsuit does.
Among those who say they are surprised by the statement is Gruber himself, whom I was able to reach by phone. "I honestly don’t remember why I said that," he said, attempting to reconstruct what he might have been thinking at the time. "I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake." As evidence that it was not indicative of his beliefs, he noted that his projections of the law's impact have always assumed that all eligible people would get subsides, even though, he said, he did not assume all states would choose to run their own marketplaces.
If this was always the case I think we'd have heard about it long before now.
What do I think? As I’ve written before, I had literally hundreds of conversations with the people writing health care legislation in 2009 and 2010, including quite a few with Gruber. Like other journalists who were following the process closely, I never heard any of them suggest subsidies would not be available in states where officials decided not to operate their own marketplaces—a big deal that, surely, would have come up in conversation.