Gruber: My 2012 remarks were “a speak-o”

posted at 12:01 pm on July 25, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

In a sense, Jonathan Gruber’s response today to the emergence of his 2012 explanation for the language in ObamaCare mirrors the attempt to get courts to ignore the plain text of the statute and instead rule based on the most current interpretation. The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn reached out to Gruber to get his reaction to the emergence of the Nobilis video in which the architect of ObamaCare explains that the restriction of subsidies to states with their own exchanges was a rational attempt to coerce states into creating those exchanges, rather than shifting the burden back to the federal government. Gruber calls that “a speak-o — you know, like a typo”:

I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.

During this era, at this time, the federal government was trying to encourage as many states as possible to set up their exchanges. …

At this time, there was also substantial uncertainty about whether the federal backstop would be ready on time for 2014. I might have been thinking that if the federal backstop wasn’t ready by 2014, and states hadn’t set up their own exchange, there was a risk that citizens couldn’t get the tax credits right away. …

But there was never any intention to literally withhold money, to withhold tax credits, from the states that didn’t take that step. That’s clear in the intent of the law and if you talk to anybody who worked on the law. My subsequent statement was just a speak-o—you know, like a typo.

In order to believe that, though, you’d have to ignore the plain meaning of the question Gruber was asked, and the plain meaning of the answer he gave. Gruber explicitly identifies states balking at running exchanges as one of the three main threats to the success of ObamaCare, at the 28-minute mark in the full video below. Note too at the time that Gruber stressed in the presentation that ObamaCare shouldn’t be seen as a federal takeover of health care in part because ObamaCare incentivized states to deal with the exchanges, an argument made at least in parallel to the point about the political threat to the law that balking states would create.

The second question after that argument went directly to that issue, with no misunderstanding the point (around 31:20):

Q: You mentioned the health implementation exchanges in the states, and it’s my understanding that if states don’t provide them, then the federal government will provide them. What do you say to that?

GRUBER: Yeah, so these health-insurance Exchanges, you can go on ma.healthconnector.org and see ours in Massachusetts, will be these new shopping places and they’ll be the place that people go to get their subsidies for health insurance. In the law, it says if the states don’t provide them, the federal backstop will. The federal government has been sort of slow in putting out its backstop, I think partly because they want to sort of squeeze the states to do it. I think what’s important to remember politically about this, is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits. But your citizens still pay the taxes that support this bill. So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country. I hope that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these Exchanges, and that they’ll do it. But you know, once again, the politics can get ugly around this.

This answer is not a “speak-o” any more than the statutory language on subsidies and exchanges was a “typo.” Gruber explained the coercive policy correctly and in detail, along with the stakes involved in seeing the coercion succeed. It’s not a case of just using the wrong terminology, like “market” instead of “exchange.” Gruber clearly understood the statute at this time — in January 2012 — to provide the arm-twisting needed to get states to launch their own exchanges by stiffing consumers in states without them, which would then create more pressure on those states to get them the federal subsidies that they were funding but not receiving.

That is exactly what the plaintiffs argued in Halbig, and what the court ruled to be the intent of Congress as well as the statutory reality of the ACA. Just because that arm-twisting policy failed in its goals doesn’t mean it wasn’t deliberate, rational, and very much a part of the ObamaCare strategy then, and it doesn’t make it a “typo” now — or a “speak-o” either.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

I hope that Guinea worms eat this pig of the land.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Roberts, redeem yourself, or suffer the same fate.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

ObamaCare was never about healthcare…it was about control.

d1carter on July 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake.

That’s as credible as saying that Hitler didn’t mean anything in Mein Kampf and it was just a really long typo.

Stoic Patriot on July 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Yes, yes. We know. Whatever needs to be said at any single tiny given moment in order to accomplish the task at hand. We’re used to it.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Speak-o? Doesn’t he really mean speak-oh!

Don L on July 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

it’ absolutely breathtaking how stupid people like Gruber think we are.

olesparkie on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Dude, that was like two years ago….

d1carter on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

If anyone needed any proof that illiberals lie like children caught with their hands in the cookie jar…what a moron.

non-nonpartisan on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

How does the 4th Circuit know the intent of the statute when its own architect doesn’t?

blammm on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

“That’s one long speak-O” – Black Ghostbuster

sentinelrules on July 25, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Then give your paychecks back.

albill on July 25, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Liar!
*in my best carol Kane voice*

cmsinaz on July 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM

The ivy leagues are infected with lying morons…. who think they are smarter than everyone else.

aniptofar on July 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Speak-o? Doesn’t he really mean speak-oh!

Don L on July 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Speak-o-$h|7!

blammm on July 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Next up? The new carny telling us he knows three, personally, men named Jonathan Gruber.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Backtrack..backtrack like the wind.

vcferlita on July 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I’m waiting for Ezekiel Emanuel to weigh in…

d1carter on July 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Head over to twitchy. …Ezra Klein meltdown

Gruver never said this to me
(Whine)

cmsinaz on July 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

It was an “oops I accidentally told the truth” moment.

portlandon on July 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

How does the 4th Circuit know the intent of the statute when its own architect doesn’t?
blammm on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Careful.

That would imply that the statute is ambiguous which means that it means whatever the administration says it means …. today.

PackerBronco on July 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Again worth mentioning, this is the same Gruber that Mitt Romney hired to formulate Romneycare. Republicans are not your friends!

gryphon202 on July 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Day is night, cats are dogs, higher temperatures mean global warming, lower temperatures mean global warming. Is there any meaning to what a lib say? It is the old lawyer joke: What does a lawyer say when he is asked what 2 + 2 equal? What would you like it to be? To the 40% who still support this POC administration: Grow up or go away.

warmairfan on July 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Lying liars telling serial lies to cover up their rare truth telling. Hubris and arrogance gets’em every time.

vnvet on July 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

it’ absolutely breathtaking how stupid people like Gruber think we are.
 
olesparkie on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

 
He doesn’t care about us. He’s trying to give the supporters something to grab as the helicopter lifts off.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Roberts, redeem yourself, or suffer the same fate.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Start heating the tar and feathers.

ConstantineXI on July 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Typical liberal- “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

..another bullsh*it phrase for the liberal lexicon; another f**king lying weasel. And this clown gets $400,000 for his work?

Whatever happened to integrity and “owning up”?

The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

HA!
He is just like all the other Lying liars who lie and work in the White House, especially President Job Killer.
A Freaking Agitating Community Organizer is President……I still cant believe it…….The Stupid Bastards who voted for him are getting what they deserve…….all of us others are getting screwed…….
I did not vote to lose my job and be fully employed only 3 of the last 6 years. To lose my life savings supporting my family, paying my mortgage and a being responsible citizen, even though I had only a tenth of what I normally earn coming in.
President Job Killer knows nothing about Capitalism and does not comprehend that shitty decisions have shitty consequences!

Sick of this crap….Come and Get me IRS!

Privatize It on July 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Whatever happened to integrity and “owning up”?

The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

In politics? ROFLMMFAO

gryphon202 on July 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Whatever happened to integrity and “owning up”?
 
The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

 
They old, that’s old school people. We in a new school.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

He doesn’t care about us. He’s trying to give the supporters something to grab as the helicopter lifts off.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:10 PM


..you mean, like this?

The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

…pants on fire…

Ricard on July 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

So, adding “O” to the end of a word redefines it as a lie? Huh, why am I thinking of a certain President…

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

it’ absolutely breathtaking how stupid people like Gruber think we are.

olesparkie on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Even more breathtaking is how stupid Gruber is. Nice last name, though. Fits.

de rigueur on July 25, 2014 at 12:14 PM

This is so patently absurd. How can anyone with a straight face insist that not only did Congress not mean what they said, but neither did the architect of the law? He didn’t make a mistake, and he knows it…the law was written as it was to entice states to create their own exchanges, full stop. Period.

I have no confidence that the Roberts Court, after having twisted itself into a knot to find the damn thing constitutional in the first place, will see it that way of course, but we’re getting into what does ‘is’ mean territory here.

changer1701 on July 25, 2014 at 12:14 PM

“That’s one long speak-O” – Black Ghostbuster

sentinelrules on July 25, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Winston Zeddimore. Don’t forget it.

Judge_Dredd on July 25, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I’m surprised that piece of evidence didn’t suddenly “crash” along with any supplementary emails.

butch on July 25, 2014 at 12:14 PM

I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.

Like it’s not bad enough we have this loathsome son of a bitch to thank, in large part, for the goat rodeo that is OblammerCare…

Let’s just spew this crap out there and double down on a$$hole….

BigWyo on July 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

rogerb

..by the way, my admiration for your efforts on HA knows no bounds. (I only fear what past comments of mine you have saved!)

The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

That is exactly what the plaintiffs argued in Halbig, and what the court ruled to be the intent of Congress as well as the statutory reality of the ACA. Just because that arm-twisting policy failed in its goals doesn’t mean it wasn’t deliberate, rational, and very much a part of the ObamaCare strategy then, and it doesn’t make it a “typo” now — or a “speak-o” either.

If the SCOTUS takes this up, and I am confident they will, and if they view this 2012 video, the DC Circuit’s 2-1 ruling on Halbig eliminating the wealth redistribution payments from Healthcare.gov will be eliminated until Congress amends the ACA legislation. That’s the only way the ‘typo’ can be legally ‘corrected’. To claim, as the 4th Circuit did, doesn’t work, but they should get decent grades from the fascist judges for them mental gymnastics to build such a justification.

It was an “oops I accidentally told the truth” moment.

portlandon on July 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM

The progressive-fascists hate it when that happens.

Athos on July 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

First it was a “typo” followed by a “speak-o” which ends up today with a “lie-o”

PackerBronco on July 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

This is the quality of our academic elites and educated class. Need we any further proof our institutions of higher learning are a total failure and the educated class is anything but?

Remember folks these are our leaders and sage advisors proffering wisdom and guidance to the populace through our elected offcicials who have also been educated but the very same advisors.

I weep for my children :(

Skwor on July 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

First it was a “typo” followed by a “speak-o” which ends up today with a “lie-o”

PackerBronco on July 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

HEH!!!

BigWyo on July 25, 2014 at 12:16 PM

olesparkie

it’ absolutely breathtaking how stupid people like Gruber think we are.

Are they wrong? They always get away with this stuff.

Bill-Republic of Texas on July 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Whatever happened to integrity and “owning up”?

The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

“What is truth?” – Pontius Pilate

PackerBronco on July 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Again worth mentioning, this is the same Gruber that Mitt Romney hired to formulate Romneycare. Republicans are not your friends!

gryphon202 on July 25, 2014 at 12:09 PM

It’s even worse than that. This guy was the author of one of my economics textbooks in college. So his stupidity isn’t just being constrained to public policy — it gets to infect your kids’ minds too.

Stoic Patriot on July 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

If he didn’t understand the law, should refund his consulting fees he’s been paid for consulting on the law?

JoeHanson on July 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Odd that he reaffirmed and added detailed context to a “drafting error”.

If a court now rejects the clearly written language of the law coupled with the detailed context as to the purpose of that language provided by an author, then it would be judicial nullification of the law. Totally illegitimate.

forest on July 25, 2014 at 12:18 PM

This is so patently absurd. How can anyone with a straight face insist that not only did Congress not mean what they said, but neither did the architect of the law?

changer1701 on July 25, 2014 at 12:14 PM

They do that with the Second Amendment all the time.

Its standard liberal behavior.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 12:18 PM

..you mean, like this?
 
The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

 
Pretty much.
 
Isn’t it strange how the farther one consciously chooses to get from the Constitution/legislative procedure the more difficult it becomes to keep everything properly tied down?
 
I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, though.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

ENOUGH!!!
There. I’ve said it.

Enough of the LIES.
Enough of the SCANDALS.
Enough of the COVER UPS.

RedManBlueState on July 25, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Oh, and shucks.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Yep, a Lie-O.

I hope that makes it into one of the briefs.

LASue on July 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I’m shocked, shocked I say to find that someone on the left lied.

yetanotherjohn on July 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Those 2 Judges have GOT to be laughing.

Confirmation-o of their ruling.

LetsBfrank on July 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I’m shocked, shocked I say to find that someone on the left who worked for Mitt Romney lied.

yetanotherjohn on July 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

FIFY.

gryphon202 on July 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM

It’s the ol’ “I was only kidding” dodge, indicative of prevarication and/or low IQ.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

That’s the pattern they used throughout the entire law. With the exchanges. With QHBP. With Medicaid expansion. Over and over. It’s repetitive and consistent.

OT: It’s official on our tax forms….the individual mandate is a tax.

lineholder on July 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Today’s statement then, is simply a Lie-O.

Curmudgeon on July 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

So, adding “O” to the end of a word redefines it as a lie? Huh, why am I thinking of a certain President…

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

+1000

NoFanofLibs on July 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

I honestly don’t remember why I said that. I was speaking off-the-cuff. It was just a mistake. People make mistakes. Congress made a mistake drafting the law and I made a mistake talking about it.

IOW, the architect of Obamacare is a mental retard.

Explains a lot, really.

Doesn’t change the printing on the page though…

JohnGalt23 on July 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

OT: It’s official on our tax forms….the individual mandate is a tax.

lineholder on July 25, 2014 at 12:23 PM

With that, do we NOW have standing to sue over this illegal tax that originated in the Senate?

ConstantineXI on July 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

So, adding “O” to the end of a word redefines it as a lie? Huh, why am I thinking of a certain President…
 
Rix on July 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

 
He pronounces it “uh”.

rogerb on July 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

No speak-o bullshit.

Axeman on July 25, 2014 at 12:26 PM

With that, do we NOW have standing to sue over this illegal tax that originated in the Senate?

ConstantineXI on July 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

That’s a good question!! You need a legal eagle to answer it and that’s not me

lineholder on July 25, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Lie after lie. Very typical for most libs. Trash.

CW on July 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Leftists lie.

mankai on July 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Yeah, Libs think the the phrase “beatings will continue until moral improves” is a useful prescription for getting the outcomes they want.

dissent555 on July 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Speak-o? Doesn’t he really mean speak-oh!

Don L on July 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Speak – doh!

VegasRick on July 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative.

Ron Ziegler

novaculus on July 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Who buys this shit? Seriously.

CW on July 25, 2014 at 12:28 PM

moral = morale

better luck next time with the typing, eh?

dissent555 on July 25, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Sounds like Gruber got caught with his pants down, and is now engaging in a LIE-O!

GarandFan on July 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

With that, do we NOW have standing to sue over this illegal tax that originated in the Senate?

ConstantineXI on July 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Yes, but it’s simpler to not comply. You are granted 1001 reasons to not comply, by god obama.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Lying liars lie, and then lie some more.

Gruber explained the coercive policy correctly and in detail, along with the stakes involved in seeing the coercion succeed.

He certainly did.

But to be fair, those types of arguments often spew forth, spontaneously and uncontrollably, from the mouths of unsuspecting ACA architects. They mean nothing, being mere brain farts. Move along folks. Nothing to see here.

AZCoyote on July 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Liberals lie. That’s all they know. It’s amazing.

Ta111 on July 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Donald Sterling should just claim a Speak-Oh defense to keep his team.

sentinelrules on July 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

SO how do we know that everything “Guber” is saying now isn’t a “speak-o?”

These libs just don’t get it.

Skwor on July 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Strange. The trolls are hiding. Where did they go?

Deckard BR on July 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Operaman says: Bagga Doucho!

Axeman on July 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Whatever happened to integrity and “owning up”?

The War Planner on July 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM

$400,000 buys a lot of silence.

HonestLib on July 25, 2014 at 12:34 PM

it’ absolutely breathtaking how stupid people like Gruber think we are.

olesparkie on July 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

When the voters put O and his regime in twice, his confidence in the public’s stupidity is completely justified.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on July 25, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Was Bush ever this bad in the eyes of liberals? Caught dead to rights lying? His administration caught dead to rights lying?

Maybe I’m old, but if I remember correctly Bush was nowhere near this administration in its brazen ineptitude and constant double-speak. Not even close. And yet, here we are.

*crickets*

Deckard BR on July 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

BREAKING:

Donald Sterling files suit over NBA’s mis-interpretation of a speak-o; seeks ownership of Clippers as compensatory damages, and ownership of the entire NBA as punitive damages.

BobMbx on July 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Oops. Pardon me, that was a baseball bat-o.

M240H on July 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Every once in a blue moon, a liberal will accidentally break Omerta to acknowledge that there are negative aspects and consequences to ObamaCare.

“Everyone I know is very tight-lipped about the bad parts” should not be taken seriously as a defense for this monstrosity.

Herod on July 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

ROFL

Bishop on July 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

In all seriousness, are liberals ever honest? Ever?

Is lying in furtherance of the left agenda really considered noble?

I have yet to ever see a single liberal (in modern times – last 20 years or so) be honest on any topic at any time.

I ask the same question I always do – if you truly believe you are correct on the substance of an issue, why is it you must ALWAYS lie to support such position? If you were correct, wouldn’t you have honest argument that could be made? That you don’t belies that you believe yourself substantively correct.

It’s amazing how anyone can believe themselves correct when they can never be honest.

Monkeytoe on July 25, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Other Speak-Os by the Obama admin:

“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”

“I actually respect the Constitution”

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

BobMbx on July 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

BREAKING:

Donald Sterling files suit over NBA’s mis-interpretation of a speak-o; seeks ownership of Clippers as compensatory damages, and ownership of the entire NBA as punitive damages.

BobMbx on July 25, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Gruber clearly understood the statute at this time — in January 2012 —

For me it’s easy…

He had no reason to lie about it then. He has every reason to lie about it now.

He’s a freakin liar.

BacaDog on July 25, 2014 at 12:40 PM

LOL, they aren’t even trying anymore. Honestly, they don’t care what the intent was or what words were used, either in the bill itself or by the people trying to get it imposed on the rest of us. It doesn’t matter. They will do or say whatever they need to say.

mbs on July 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Let’s hold a contest for the best answer to this question:

What is the difference between Gruber and slimey spineless nightcrawler worm? –

KW64 on July 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

SO how do we know that everything “Guber” is saying now isn’t a “speak-o?”

Skwor on July 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM

You don’t. This is such a parade of unprecedented incompetence that you don’t know that even if he cites the Gettysburg Address he isn’t selling you a car in Sham-ese.

But if anybody remembers, the Dems of the 90s gave us a Clinton aide who “lied to his diary”, when he said something incriminating about the Whitehouse retaining subpoena-ed papers. So they had his diary, documenting the deceit, but he simply testified that he lies in his diary.

Axeman on July 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Just in: Here’s Gruber with his latest statement:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uACvFAm6JSM

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on July 25, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Judging by today’s explanation for his January 2012 explanation on the ObamaCare subsidies and state exchange programs, there must be some other university where Jonathan Gruber is a professor, where the MIT initials stand for “Math Is Tough”.

jon1979 on July 25, 2014 at 12:44 PM

I will be singing “Ee i ee I oh” all day now.

HonestLib on July 25, 2014 at 12:45 PM

I guess MIT now stands for Minimal Intelligence Taught

Skwor on July 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

What is the difference between Gruber and slimey spineless nightcrawler worm? –

KW64 on July 25, 2014 at 12:41 PM

You don’t know either?

PackerBronco on July 25, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Comment pages: 1 2