Jonathan Gruber, national laughingstock? Never heard of the guy.
Pelosi on Gruber: "I don't know who he is. He didn't help write our bill."
— Sean Sullivan (@WaPoSean) November 13, 2014
Gruber, he’s the guy who wrote the bill you said we had to read to find out what’s in it. Jog any memories?
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined in with the White House’s attempt to distance itself from a key figure in the creation of the Affordable Care Act who claimed the bill was passed with help from “lack of transparency” and “the stupidity of the American voter.”
MIT professor Jonathan Gruber — who assisted congressional staffers in writing the bill — made such claims last year during an academic conference, but the video only became widely-viewed this week. He has since appeared on MSNBC to call the comments “inappropriate,” but did not deny his underlying point.
OK, Let’s help you out, Nancy.
MYTH: The House health insurance reform bill would result in higher premiums.
FACT: An analysis of the House bill by noted MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber concludes that the bill would result in lower premiums than under current law for the millions of Americans using the newly-established Health Insurance Exchange – including those who are not receiving affordability credits to help them purchase coverage. (The Health Insurance Exchange is for those without access to affordable employer-sponsored coverage.) As Gruber states: “the premiums that individuals will face in the new exchanges established by this legislation are … considerably lower than what they would face in the non-group insurance market [under current law], due to the market reforms put in place by the House plan, the mandate on individuals to participate regardless of health, and the market economies of new exchanges.”
The Gruber analysis shows that, on the Exchange, a family at 425 percent of poverty (whose income of $93,710 means that they would receive no affordability credits) would see their premiums reduced by $1,260 or 12 percent compared to current law. Similarly, the Gruber analysis shows that, on the Exchange, an individual at 425 percent of poverty (whose income of $46,030 means that they would receive no affordability credits) would see their premiums reduced by $470 or 12 percent.
The annual savings are much larger for lower income populations that receive affordability credits. Under the House bill, when the bill’s affordability credits are taken into account, a family at 275% of poverty (income of $60,640) would save $5,030, or 47 percent in premiums compared to current law and a family at 175 percent of poverty (income of $38,590) would save $9,050 or 84 percent in premiums compared to current law.
Gruber also points out that, even as individuals and families on the Exchange are paying less, they will be getting more:
The coverage those on the Exchange get under the House plan would be better than today’s typical coverage in the non-group market.
For example, it would protect individuals and families from high out-of-pocket costs.
That’s in addition to other consumer protections in the bill – like ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and guaranteeing that your coverage won’t be dropped or watered down when you get sick or need it most.
It’s quite conceivable Pelosi never actually met Gruber, and considering her advanced age it’s likely she wouldn’t remember. But to feign ignorance this week after the disastrous daily rollouts of Gruber’s smug comments, it’s strains credulity to feign ignorance any longer. Not that she, of all people, had much credibility left.