OTR Interviews

Colleague of ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber attempts to explain his 'stupid' comments

Fellow economist attempts to explain what Jonathan Gruber really meant by his repeated references to the 'stupidity' of American voters in past remarks about ObamaCare. #GruberGate #ObamaCare

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 14, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Our next guest knows Jonathan Gruber very well. They consulted with each other about ObamaCare and Vermont's health care system.

William Hsiao is a professor of economics at the Harvard School of Public Health. He joins us. Good evening, sir.

WILLIAM HSIAO, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Good evening.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long have you known Jonathan Gruber?

HSIAO: More than 20 years.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think --

HSIAO: Since he was a graduate student.

VAN SUSTEREN: I assume you have seen the videotapes or heard the videotapes where he is saying that the American people are essentially stupid. Are you aware of those tapes?

HSIAO: I have heard a part of it on NPR.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think? What are your thoughts?

HSIAO: I think he -- my thoughts, he must be very frustrated because of all the political opposition and the road blocks people are putting in front of the Affordable Care Act --

(CROSSTALK)

HSIAO: -- and he has devoted a great deal of time to it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it would be sort of odd if he has frustration because the people he is insulting are the ones that paid him more than $2 million, whether it's in the federal government, 400,000, or the money he got from the individual states. He may be frustrated but he sort -- he sort of picked the wrong target, the ones who actually were paying him.

HSIAO: I think he is not necessarily referring to these people, but rather the popular voices have said, you know, oppose the Affordable Care Act. And they don't -- they have -- they don't seem to have studied the act and they just oppose the act because they heard some propaganda put on them by the political oppositions.

VAN SUSTEREN: You talk about political propaganda from an opposition. Actually, it sort of seems a little bit like the opposite. When he was speaking at the University of Pennsylvania, on October 13, 2013, he talked about the lack of transparency, it's a huge political advantage. And basically, called the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever. Basically, that was really, really critical to get this thing to pass. In other words, he is saying no transparency is why it got passed, and they were able to do no transparency because they thought the American people were stupid. That doesn't seem -- frankly, he seems like the one who is not playing it straight.

HSIAO: I did not see or hear the tape he made at the University of Pennsylvania. I really doubt Jonathan Gruber, who is a very smart person and an economist, that he would say that there was a lack of transparency in passing the Affordable Care Act. Because that legislation was widely debated and publicized by all the newspapers and TV shows. So I don't know what -- if he said that, I don't know why he said that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Candor is sort of important. That's one thing. Two, we have a democracy one it's not just one guy thinking he is so smart to sort of to trick the American people by trying to say it's something it isn't and try to hide behind the lack of transparency to get his will passed because he thinks it's complicated.

HSIAO: Well, I don't know if you are referring to Jonathan Gruber or not. I don't think he is the one who drafted the legislation. And there is a whole team draft the legislation, because it touches many laws of the land. And so different -- the bill had to deal with amendments to different laws. Deal with insurance laws of different states and so forth. So it was a very complicated and lengthy legislation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Professor, thank you for joining us. Thank you, sir.

HSIAO: OK. OK, bye.