Obamacare Architect: Tried to 'Get Rid of' Parts People Didn't Like, Premiums Skyrocketed

November 14, 2016

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber told CNN's Carol Costello on Monday that it is not possible to just "get rid of the parts" of the health care law that people do not like because that was tried and "premiums went through the roof."

Costello interviewed Gruber on her show and asked how Americans' health care premiums would be affected if President-elect Donald Trump repealed parts of the Affordable Care Act that are unpopular after taking office.

"So, let's say he keeps the parts of the law that people really like," Costello said. "What would that do to all of our premiums? If he could keep all of the elements that you say that Congress might reject."

"The point is about Obamacare it's complicated for a reason," Gruber said. He explained that the part of Obamacare people like is how it ended discrimination for health insurance coverage.

"However, you can't have that unless you also make sure that people can afford insurance so that the healthy buy it and you get healthy people into the risk pool," Gruber added.

He said the creators of Obamacare tried the approach of attempting to get rid of parts that people did not like, but in every single case it ended up increasing premiums.

"To just say we're going to keep the parts people like and get rid of the parts people don't, we've tried that," Gruber said. "Seven states tried that in the 1990s. They tried to tell insurers you can't discriminate against the sick. In every single case it destroyed the insurance market, premiums went through the roof, and the insurance market shrunk to a fraction of its previous size."

"You can't have it both ways," he continued. "If you want to tell insurers they can't discriminate, you need an individual mandate and subsidies to make sure healthy people come into the pool."

Gruber's statement came weeks after the Obama administration announced that premiums under the Affordable Care Act would skyrocket in 2017 and many Americans would have plans from only one insurer to choose from.