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Economist apologizes for his ‘offensive’ ObamaCare comments

December 9, 2014, 7:04 PM UTC
Affordable Health Care Act Consultant Jonathan Gruber Testifies Before House Committee
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Economics professor Jonathan Gruber testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about his work on the Affordable Care Act in the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill December 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Gruber, who was a consultant paid by the authors of the Affordable Care Act and the Massachusetts universal health care program, called voters stupid and said that Obamacare would not have passed if lawmakers had really known what was inside the legislation during an academic conference earlier this year. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photograph by Chip Somodevilla — Getty Images

Jonathan Gruber, the health economist who made provocative remarks about “the stupidity of the American voter” apologized repeatedly Tuesday for his statements regarding the Affordable Care Act.

Gruber attacked the ACA recently in videotaped commentary. He blamed “the stupidity of the American voter” and the act’s “lack of transparency” for the legislation’s ultimate approval in 2010.

“I made a series of inexcusable and offensive comments,” Gruber told the House of Representatives and Government Reform Committee Tuesday. “And I apologize for that.”

A healthcare economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Gruber was a key thought leader behind the development of the ACA and was called to testify about potential deceptions and transparency issues within the law.

His original videotaped comments fueled Republican outrage. Conservatives have tried to repeal Obamacare repeatedly, and they were able to seize upon Gruber’s comments as proof that the legislation isn’t in Americans’ best interest. Gruber at one point in the videos says the law was written in a “very tortured way” to hide taxes built into the act.

One top Democrat on the committee, Elijah Cummings, called Gruber’s statements “stupid” and “insulting.”

“Your statement was especially harmful because it gave opponents of the ACA a PR gift,” Cummings said.

Gruber continued to apologize, but stood firm that the development process of Obamacare was fair and transparent. This includes his economic models that indicated the costs and benefits of healthcare policy changes.