What people are saying about ACA architect Jonathan Gruber's changing interpretation of the law

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Jonathan Cohn, New Republic: "Did the people who designed Obamacare intend to deprive millions of people of health insurance, just because officials in their states decided not to operate their own insurance marketplaces? A lawsuit ... claims the answer is yes. And while every federal official and member of Congress who worked on crafting the law in 2009 and 2010 disagrees, now there's a video from 2012 in which one of the law's best known ... architects — MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — makes the same basic argument that the lawsuit does. (Gruber) told me: '(My) statement was just (speaking off the cuff) — you know, like a typo.'"

Michael F. Cannon, Forbes: "The government argues it's implausible that Congress intended to withhold tax credits in states that don't establish exchanges. (But) the plaintiffs' interpretation became even more plausible with the discovery of (Gruber's video): '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.' ... Gruber was an architect of both (Obamacare) and ... 'Romneycare.' ... Gruber changed his story around the same time it seemed this provision might imperil the statute he had worked so hard to craft."

Adrianna McIntyre, Vox: "The controversy over what Gruber said (is) not actually very consequential, legally. Courts put much more stock in the words that Congress chose when enacting the law, and the context in which Congress put those words, than what people say about (it)."

Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View: "By limiting subsidies to the state exchanges, the government was providing the incentive needed to get all 50 states and the District of Columbia to go ahead and create those exchanges. ... (Gruber) clearly had an understanding of the provision that liberals now say no one shared."

Mollie Hemingway, The Federalist: "The comments were from back when Obamacare proponents were trying to force states to set up exchanges and before most states declined to, to the shock of a deeply out-of-touch Congress. ... The federal government (uses) some combination of carrots and sticks. Such as setting up state exchanges to help bear the cost of superchaotic legislation that nobody outside of corporate lobbyists read before passing."

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