Obamacare Architect Gruber: ACA Opponents Haven’t Been Hurt From Law, They’ve ‘Just Heard’ ‘Misinformation’

On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” MIT Economics Professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber argued, “The people who oppose the law are people who haven’t benefited from the law, but haven’t been hurt from the law. They’ve just heard, I — in my view, they’ve heard a lot of bad misinformation about it.”

Gruber stated that polls on Obamacare have had a lot of movement, so it’s hard to tell where the public is. He added, “I think they [people who disapprove of the law] feel that way because there’s been a lot of misinformation about what the law’s done. I think, here’s a simple example, Tucker. Everyone agrees that Obamacare has increased insurance coverage America, but if you ask Americans what Obamacare has done to insurance coverage, almost as many claim that it’s declined as have gone up. I think that’s a prime example of the misinformation that’s been spread. I think Americans just don’t understand what this law has done for them.”

He added that his prior comments about the economic stupidity of Americans was “inartful” and that he apologized for it. He added that there has been “a huge amount of misinformation spread about this law. People don’t understand what it’s done. Let’s just take the two facts you gave in the introduction. You said 20% of America only has one choice. That is for the small share of Americans who buy insurance on the exchange. That’s not the vast majority of your listeners, who get insurance through their employer. You didn’t say that. You said that premiums are up 25%. … You’ve didn’t mention they’ve been up 0% the two years before, and on average, over the last three years, have grown slower than they grew before the law was passed. So, it’s really about just sort of a misexplanation of what the law has done.”

Gruber further said, “[I]f you look at the people who are actually benefiting from this law, they like it. … The people who oppose the law are people who haven’t benefited from the law, but haven’t been hurt from the law. They’ve just heard, I — in my view, they’ve heard a lot of bad misinformation about it.”

He further stated that the law was never intended to help everyone, but was to “leave the vast majority of Americans alone.” But that in the long-term, people who received health insurance from their employers or the government would benefit from lower costs. Gruber continued that in the short-term, the law was designed to focus on the 20% of Americans who didn’t have health insurance, or were buying it “through a broken, non-group insurance system.”

Gruber said that some people have been hurt by Obamacare, namely the top %2 of Americans who had to pay new taxes, and “very healthy individuals, who benefited from a previously discriminatory insurance market.” He further argued that this was a “small number, relative to the people who are benefited from the law.”

When the discussion turned to people having to pay for benefits they don’t need or want, Gruber said that this was a “trivial part of the issue.” And that healthy people are paying more because they have to be in a pool with sick people. Gruber later added that this was a “legitimate” question, but that the entire law shouldn’t be torn down over this.

Gruber also addressed healthcare providers and lobbyists making money off the law, Gruber responded that healthcare systems have winners and losers, just like any law.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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