MIT Professor: Actually, Voters Aren't Stupid

The appearance followed the unearthing of a 2013 video of the professor saying that the bill wouldn't have passed if people could easily understand its content.

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News

The scholar who said the passage of Obamacare relied on the "stupidity of the American voter" has gone back on his original statement. 

Appearing Tuesday on MSNBC's "Ronan Farrow Daily," Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor that has been described as the "architect" of the Affordable Care Act, said his comments were poorly worded.  "I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments," Gruber said. 

He clarified the statement, saying that it would have made more sense to finance the Affordable Care Act through spending, but that it would have never passed that way.  "Public policy that involves spending is typically less politically palatable than policy that involves doing things through the tax code," he said. 

The appearance followed the unearthing of a video, from 2013, of the professor saying that the bill wouldn't have passed if people could easily understand its content.  "Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage," Gruber said in the video. "And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass." 

Fox News's Megyn Kelly later pointed out that Gruber's gaffe wasn't an isolated incident; he had called the public stupid while talking about the same topic at a different event last year. 

Despite Gruber's walk-back, Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, told the Washington Post on Wednesday that the comment might prompt scrutiny. Jordan is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. 

"We may want to have hearings on this," Jordan said. "We shouldn't be surprised they were misleading us."

 

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