Obamacare Architect on Rising Premiums: It's Not a Big Increase

October 25, 2016

Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, a chief architect of Obamacare, described the recent announcement of rising health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act as "not a big increase."

Emmanuel served as a special health care policy adviser to the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House at the beginning of President Obama's first term.

Emmanuel spoke with MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle on Tuesday and was asked about a recent government report that stated health care premiums were slated to rise by 25 percent next year in the 39 states served by the federal online exchanges.

Ruhle started by asking Emmanuel, "Why should Americans have faith in the Affordable Care Act?"

"First of all, for those people who are getting insured on the exchanges, that 22 percent price rise is for the premium. But 83 percent of them get subsidies," Emmanuel explained.

"For those people who are getting subsidies, the vast majority of people, there will be no real change in their premiums because they get subsidies and the subsidies are linked to the premium increases," he continued.

This answer did not seem to satisfy Ruhle's initial question, leading her to interrupt him.

"Doctor, that's so confusing," she interjected.

"It's not a big increase," Emmanuel responded. He tried to defend the Affordable Care Act by suggesting that health care premiums would have risen even higher without its implementation.

"Why does it have to be this complicated?" Ruhle asked Emmanuel. "People just want to take care of their families and they want to be able to afford it."

"Most people, again, compared to before, who are shopping individually, they actually can shop much faster on the exchanges than ever before," Emmanuel said.