MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, author of the Massachusetts health care law spearheaded by Mitt Romney and an adviser to the White House on the Affordable Care Act, tells John Fugelsang how the bills compare.
“The Affordable Care Act is basically a more ambitious version of Gov. Romney’s plan,” Gruber says. “At the core they’re the same plan. They have the same what I call ‘three-legged stool’: Reform insurance markets so insurers can’t discriminate; have an individual mandate so everyone participates; and have subsidies to make health insurance affordable.”
Gruber describes the individual mandate as “a free rider penalty,” emphasizing that most Americans will not have to pay the penalty. “We’ve run the experiment. We’ve seen what happens. We did it in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts in this year, we had 44,000 people out of a population of over 6 million pay the penalty, so less than 1 percent of our population actually paid any penalty.”