MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber explained Wednesday that the current health-care system is unfair, discriminatory and rewards “lottery winners” who do not have to pay more for health insurance because they are healthy.
“Let’s start with understanding that we are not talking about the vast majority of Americans,” Gruber explained on Chuck Todd’s “The Daily Rundown” on MSNBC. “This law is really leaving those with employer insurance, those with government insurance alone. We’re talking about a small minority of Americans that buy their insurance through the individual market. … Exactly, it’s 12 million people, about a third of which will end up paying more under the law. And that as you said in the introduction is sort of the idea.”
“We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick or if you’re going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance,” he continued. “The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners who have been paying an artificially low price because of this discrimination now will have to pay more in return. And that by my estimate is about four million people. In return, we will have a fixed system where over 30 million people will now for the first time be able to access fairly price and guaranteed health insurance.”
Gruber had one recommendation for a fix — offer those whose health premiums have rise a temporary tax credit.
“There is a clear solution that doesn’t undo the law, which is you could offer what we could call transitional tax credits to those who are affected by this law,” Gruber added. “You could say, ‘Look, some people will pay more. We’re upset about that, so what we’ll do is, even though they are above four times poverty, so they are not getting the tax credits that are in the law, we’ll offer a special one- or two-year tax credits to help smooth that transition. The problem with that solution is that will require a Congress that is willing to cooperate. And this Congress isn’t.”