OK, this one is pretty clear. There is no ambiguity about a “federal backstop” and what that might mean. (Thanks to the honorable Keshav for passing this along, even though he disagrees with me.)
It is now pretty obvious to me that Gruber thought the bill would deny tax credits to people in states where exchanges were not set up. Now Gruber is just playing dumb, saying he must have been mistaken when speaking with such confidence. Well, he doesn’t sound like he’s ill-informed in this video. He sounds like he was part of the discussions (which we know he was, although everybody involved tried to deny it) and he is obviously very intelligent and a details kind of guy.
This bill was enormous. The fact that Matt Yglesias wasn’t talking about this particular aspect doesn’t really mean much to me. In my research (which you’ll see in my forthcoming book on U.S. health care, in the fall, co-authored with an ER doctor) I dug up all sorts of stuff that nobody has talked about.
UPDATE: Notice in the very beginning, Gruber says of this risk “the one folks aren’t talking about.” So for Gruber to now say, “Well geez, I must have been crazy back then, because nobody else was talking about this,” is kind of fishy. And gosh, I guess that’s the trouble Gruber when you admit to the world that you are willing to deceive people to push through your political agenda–now people have a hard time believing you.