Gruber apologizes for 'glib' Obamacare comments, gets grilled in front of House committee

Jonathan GruberJonathan Gruber, a health economist and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, apologized Tuesday for his "glib" comments regarding "the stupidity of the American voter" in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind healthcare reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong," said Gruber, reports The Washington Post.

Gruber (pictured right) also added that he was not the 'architect' of the Affordable Care Act, nor did he consider himself a political adviser, notes Politico.

"Grubergate" gained traction last month after Gruber claimed that a lack of transparency, along with the stupidity of American voters, helped pass the ACA.

The 4-hour hearing of back-and-forths included questions about Gruber's grant money he received from the federal government and states for work related to the ACA. As to evade the question about how much he was paid, Gruber repeatedly said, "you can take it up with my counsel," reports The New York Times.

The committee highlighted two videos from January 2012 that show Gruber discussing federal subsidies. In the videos, Gruber appears to agree with those opposed to ACA subsidies--namely, that the healthcare reform law intended to limit financial assistance to states that built their own exchanges, notes Vox. In a separate video, FierceHealthPayer previously reported, Gruber said the ACA forced states to build their own health insurance exchanges for political reasons.

Even though Gruber told the committee these comments were a mistake, the words still may resonate with the Supreme Court, which is set to decide the King v. Burwell case next year.

It's possible, suggests Vox, that what Gruber said may hold larger implications about what legislators were thinking as they designed the ACA's subsidies.

Even with all the drama associated with Grubergate, it seems Americans don't really care. Just about two in 10 Americans say they have been following the story closely, writes Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, in a Wall Street Journal blog post.  

For more:
- here's The Washington Post article
- read the Politico story
- check out The New York Times piece
- here's the Vox article
- read the WSJ post