MIT professor and healthcare reform adviser Jonathan Gruber profusely and repeatedly apologised Monday for a series of controversial remarks he made about Obamacare.
“I behaved badly, and I will have to live with that, but my own inexcusable arrogance is not a flaw in the Affordable Care Act,” Gruber said before a congressional committee hearing, according to his prepared remarks.
Gruber, who is widely regarded as one of the architects of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, added fuel to the already contentious debate over the law earlier this year when videos emerged showing him mocking the American public while discussing the strategy behind the Affordable Care Act.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said in one clip. “Call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever. But basically, that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass. I wish we could make it all transparent. But I’d rather have this law than not.”
However, speaking Monday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Gruber backtracked on those claims and said he was “embarrassed.”
“I would like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that I made. In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong. In other cases I simply made insulting and mean comments that are totally uncalled for in any situation. I sincerely apologise both for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion. It is never appropriate to try to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I know better,” he said.
Contrary to his claims in the videos, Gruber went on to defend the law and insist it was passed in a transparent fashion. He also downplayed his role in helping construct the legislation and said he was not “the architect” of Obama’s healthcare reform. Gruber, who’s become a lightning rod for conservative criticism, concluded by urging the country to “move past the distraction” he caused.
“While I will continue to reflect on the causes of my own insensitivity, I hope that our country can move past the distraction of my misguided comments and focus on the enormous opportunities this law provides,” he said.
View Gruber’s full prepared remarks below.
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