The White House doesn’t think the US public really cares about the latest controversy surrounding economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform.
Asked about recently surfaced videos showing Gruber making disparaging remarks about American voters’ understanding of the law, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday afternoon that almost everyone is “pretty tired of relitigating” the Affordable Care Act debates.
“The sentiments that were expressed by Dr. Gruber are not sentiments that the president agrees with, and frankly don’t actually reflect what actually happened,” Earnest said at his regular media briefing. “People are understandably pretty tired of relitigating all of the political fights from 2009 and and 2010 as it relates to the Affordable Care Act.”
In the videos, Gruber can be seen making seemingly cynical comments about the healthcare law. Among other things, he touted a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American people.”
Though Gruber has since apologised, some GOP lawmakers have said Gruber’s comments demonstrate the White House has been fundamentally dishonest in how it makes its policy pitches to the public on a whole range of issues.
But Earnest accused Republicans of being cynical themselves by attempting to distract the public from the healthcare law’s successes. The opening of the second enrollment period last weekend, he noted, has gone much more smoothly than the new healthcare system’s infamously troubled launch.
“There are some Republicans, however, that do seek to sort of fan the flames over those old political arguments because they think it is politically advantageous for them to do so. My suspicion is that they do so because it’s easier to talk about six- and eight-year-old videos than it is to talk about how smoothly the opening of the second open enrollment period has gone so far,” Earnest said. “Or to talk about the millions of people who have gotten healthcare.”
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