Obama Says American Public Was Not Misled on Healthcare

The president took issue with his former consultant's assessment of how "Obamacare" was passed.

U.S. President Barack Obama listens to a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

 President Obama dismissed the outrage over a consultant's remarks that the Affordable Care Act was passed using a "lack of transparency" that was benefited by "the stupidity of the American voter." 

At a news conference on Sunday in Brisbane, Australia, Obama was asked by Fox News correspondent Ed Henry whether he misled the American public about aspects of the Affordable Care Act in order to get it passed. 

 “No. I did not," Obama responded, adding, "The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run.”

The adviser in question, MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, has been alternately described as either the "architect of Obamacare," or simply a consultant who had also worked to help craft Massachusetts' health care law under then Governor Mitt Romney. Unearthed remarks Gruber made regarding the lack of transparency of the Affordable Care Act have given critics of the law fresh ammunition to criticize it. 

 

In Australia, Obama took issue with Gruber's characterization of their collective intelligence, and scoffed at the notion that anything was hidden from the public.

“The one thing we can't say is that we did not have a lengthy debate about healthcare in the United States of America, or that it was not adequately covered," the president said. "I would just advise every press outlet here: Pull up every clip and every story. I think it’s fair to say there was not a provision in the health care law that was not extensively debated and was fully transparent. It was a tough debate.”

Gruber, who has staunchly defended the ACA in recent interviews, was paid approximately $400,000 for his advisory role in the crafting of the law. 

 

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