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Obamacare Architect Zeke Emanuel: Bill ‘Was Not Perfect,’ Some ‘Problems’ and ‘Unintended Consequences’

On Wednesday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” Obamacare architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel stated that everyone who worked on Obamacare “thought that it was not perfect, and six years in, some of the problems, some of the unintended consequences are manifesting themselves.”

Emanuel said, “[E]veryone who worked on the bill thought that it was not perfect, and six years in, some of the problems, some of the unintended consequences are manifesting themselves. That doesn’t mean it’s fatal. These price increases that we’re seeing this year are a one-time increase relative to the fact that insurance companies didn’t know who was going to come in, under-priced their premiums in the first few years, and are readjusting them based on who’s in the marketplace. We need to do several things to improve what we’re — the number of people in the exchanges, and the risk that insurance companies are facing. They’re not major fixes, but — and they ‘re doable if we have a Congress that can collaborate. But it’s what any company would do if they launch a product, some problems arise, and you try to fix them.”

He added, “Remember, if the exchanges go away, it’s not good for the Republicans, because then the only option, really, to not having people with pre-existing conditions excluded from insurance, is either Medicare for all, which I don’t think [House Speaker Representative] Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the Republicans want, or very expensive high-risk insurance pools, that spend a lot of money because you’ve concentrated really sick people in those insurance pools. The exchanges are a better way to go. And remember, if these things fall apart, it — they’re going to be blamed on the Republicans, because the Democrats have ideas and the Republicans don’t. Although, Donald Trump did say he was for Medicare for all, at one point.”

When asked about young people who are opting to pay the fine rather than sign up for health insurance, Emanuel stated that, “fines are $700 roughly, or 2.5% of your income, whichever is higher, and insurance for most people is in the range of about $1,600 or $1,700 — single people, after subsidies. That seems to me to be a pretty good deal for having health insurance, rather than paying a penalty and getting nothing for it. So, I do think that when you actually look at the economic calculations, it is quite rational. I think many people still don’t know how big their subsidies are. Almost 80% of the people who are on the exchange can find a health insurance product for them for under $100. That is a pretty good deal for people. Insurance — health insurance, that can cover tens of thousands of dollars, if something, God forbid, something happens. And we have to persuade people that this is a good deal.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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