Gruber comes to the Supreme Court

Jonathan Gruber has arrived at the Supreme Court.

The controversial consultant's name appears six times in a 129-page opening brief for plaintiffs challenging ObamaCare in the blockbuster case King v. Burwell.

The case, which will be heard by the Supreme Court on March 4, could erase healthcare subsidies in dozens of states.

ADVERTISEMENT

The plaintiffs, represented by Competitive Enterprise Institute, argue the language of the Affordable Care Act only allows healthcare subsidies to be distributed in states that created their own exchanges. That would exclude the millions of people who have obtained coverage through the federal site, HealthCare.gov.

Top Democrats, including those who authored the law, have chalked up the issue to a drafting error while warning that $65 billion in funding could be lost if the lawsuit succeeds.

In their opening brief, the plaintiffs plan to cite a 2012 speech by Gruber, when he defies the administration and says states that don’t establish their own exchange can't legally get tax credits.

“I hope that that’s a blatant enough political reality that states will get their act together and realize there are billions of dollars at stake here in setting up these exchanges, and that they’ll do it,” Gruber, an MIT economist, says in the speech, which was later posted on YouTube.

Republican lawmakers seized on Gruber’s comments on the state-based exchanges at a hearing by the House Oversight Committee earlier this month, though Gruber repeatedly said his viewpoints didn’t represent the views of the administration.

The plaintiffs argue that their case is “based primarily on the language” of ObamaCare, but add that it is supported by other factors, including comments by Gruber about his consulting work on the law.

“From the outset of this case we have argued that the Obamacare statute clearly limits subsidies to exchanges established by states,” Michael Carvin, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, wrote in a statement.

“[Our position] is further supported by factors ranging from the law’s legislative history and lower court rulings to Jonathan Gruber’s recently rediscovered statements,” Carvin wrote.