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Gruber Battles Bartiromo: Obamacare ‘Has Saved People Money’

By  Robert Kraychik

Fox Business Channel’s Maria Bartiromo interviewed left-wing MIT economics professor and “Obamacare architect” Jonathan Gruber on Tuesday.

Gruber made several claims about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) regarding its alleged successes.

Gruber claimed the ACA “solved” the “problem” of people with pre-existing conditions being unable to purchase health insurance for their health problems in order to shift the financial burden to health insurance providers and policyholders. In other words, Gruber said it was a “problem” that people cannot wait until they need health care in order to purchase health insurance.

Gruber also claimed that central planning of health insurance via the ACA had reduced health care costs:

“One hundred and fifty million people get their insurance through their employer. The cost of [mandated employer-provided insurance] today is $3,100 lower than it would have been that was projected before Obamacare. Individual insurance, which is paid by about seven million people, is exactly where it would have been absent Obamacare. The press coverage has been completely misleading on this. Obamacare has actually saved people money.”

No explanation was provided by Gruber as to how costs for health insurance and health care were lowered without reduction in the quality of either service.

Asked by Bartiromo why health insurance companies were withdrawing from participation in many state-run health insurance “exchanges” mandated by the ACA, Gruber said the health insurance companies were “unprepared” for a “new and innovative insurance market.”

Health insurance companies, said Gruber, want to offer “expensive and broad network products that people don’t want.” He seems to not grasp that health insurance is, by definition, a “broad network product” designed to provide peace of mind in the face of a broad swathe of possible health problems.

“We’re in a transition period,” said Gruber. “Any new insurance market goes through a transition period.” He did not define “transition period” or “new insurance market.”

Contentiousness grew as Gruber dismissed Bartiromo’s claims that business executives had told her of the ACA’s negative impacts on their financial well-being. Gruber claimed “there is no evidence” that the ACA had contributed to job losses or diminished job creation.
“All I need are ten CEOs to come on this show and tell me [that the ACA contributed to job losses],” said Bartiromo.
“Who cares if some CEO comes on your show? Look at the data,” replied Gruber. “There is not a single data point.”
Watch how it unfolded below.
Left-wing CNN reported in late October that the federal government projected health insurance costs for policies sold via the ACA’s “exchanges” to rise an average of 22% in 2017. Gruber claimed that health insurance costs for these policies were “20% below where they would have been without the law.”

Left-wing Bloomberg reported that prices for “mid-level” health insurance policies sold via the ACA’s “exchanges” had risen by an average of 25% in 2016.

At an academic conference in 2014, Gruber described the “tortured way” in which the text of the ACA was written in order to avoid a description of its mandate on Americans to purchase health insurance by the Congressional Budget Office as a tax. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” he added, describing “the stupidity of the American voter” as politically advantageous.
Watch the video below.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.
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