WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — CBS News’ Bob Schieffer says he is “dumbstruck” by one-time Obamacare adviser Jonathan Gruber’s current comments about the health care law, saying that his actions are just another example of what’s wrong with American politics.
Gruber, who was paid $400,000 to help craft the president’s Affordable Care Act, has made a series of disparaging remarks about the law he helped create. Schieffer questioned Gruber’s motives, asking “If all of this is as bad as you say, why did you take the money you earned as an adviser nor is it too late to give it back?”
Schieffer said he personally favors health insurance but is “not wild” about the new ACA plans either. He stated that Gruber’s actions show a larger problem in the U.S. political system.
“What we have here is another example of the sorry state of American politics, where people take money for things in which they don’t believe, and whether it’s good for the American people is not even a question.”
Gruber, an MIT economist who the White House consulted on the law in 2009, said during an appearance at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013 that a lack of transparency around what would become Obamacare was politically advantageous.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said in the academic conference video. “Basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”
CBS’ “Face the Nation” uncovered two additional videos in which Gruber is heard criticizing the health care law at other venues in recent years.
“The dirty secret in Massachusetts is the feds pay for our bill, Gruber said of the Massachusetts state health care plan. “Ted Kennedy and smart people of Massachusetts have basically figured out a way to sort of rip off the feds for $400 million a year.”
Gruber is heard in another video saying that Obamacare was “mislabeled” as a tax on insurance companies instead of a “tax on people who hold those insurance plans.”
David Axelrod, former top adviser to Obama, took to Twitter to label Gruber “stupid.”
“As one who worked hard to make ACA and its benefits clear, let me say: if you looked up ‘stupid’ in dictionary, you’d find Gruber’s picture,” tweeted Axelrod.