Grubinations, White House edition

Is Jonathan Gruber more obnoxious than shameless? It’s hard to tell. Both qualities have made him a fitting spokesman for Obamacare; he gives us perfection in the art. His is the appropriate face of the the Democratic Party in the Age of Obama.

The Obama White House naturally found Gruber a useful spokesman on behalf of the purported virtues of Obamacare. Like Obama himself, he would say anything on its behalf, but with the authority of his academic expertise to lend support.

See, for example, Jesse Lee’s November 2009 White House post “Word from the White House: Objective Analysis Shows Reform will Help Small Businesses, Lower Premiums for American Families.” Ah, the uses of science:

It’s no secret that institutions of all stripes focus their communications on certain messages day to day. We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day, along with any related articles, documents, or reports.

Supporting article: “Massachusetts provides evidence that health-care reform lowers insurance premiums,” Washington Post, 11/2/09

Supporting testimony: “Testimony Before the Senate HELP Committee on Health Reform and Small Businesses,” Jonathan Gruber, 11/2/09 (pdf)

Supporting report: “The Economic Effects of Health Care Reform on Small Businesses and Their Employees,” Council of Economic Advisers, 7/25/09

Talking Points: Objective Analysis Shows Reform will Help Small Businesses, Lower Premiums for American Families

Lowering Premiums For American Individuals and Families

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber has a new report out showing that reform will lower premiums for Americans purchasing insurance on their own.

Analyzing the non-partisan information from the CBO, Gruber reports that under the House version of health insurance reform legislation, a typical individual could save anywhere from nearly $500 to more than $3,000 and a typical family could save between $1,260 and more than $9,000.

Those savings, he notes, come in addition to the more generous benefits consumers would receive by purchasing insurance through the newly created exchange.

And it’s also in addition to increased protections – like banning insurance companies from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions or dropping or watering down coverage when you get sick and need it most.

“Not only does the House proposal lower premiums, it does so while also improving coverage,” Gruber writes.

Helping Small Businesses

Yesterday, Gruber also testified before the Senate HELP Committee that small businesses are disproportionately hurt by the health care status quo and that health insurance reform will lower premiums and save jobs in the small business sector.

“Small business has little to fear, and much to gain, from health reform,” Gruber concluded.

Gruber testified that health insurance reform would break down many of the barriers currently facing small businesses – like unpredictable premiums jumps, fear of starting new businesses for lack of affordable insurance options, and higher costs and limited choices due to administrative expenses and lack of bargaining power.

He also cited the tax credits that would help small businesses who need it most pay for insurance.

Based on those factors, he unveiled a new analysis showing that health insurance reform will save small businesses 25% – or $65 billion per year – over the next decade.

The consequences of those savings, he says, would be enormous.

Workers in small businesses will see an increase in their take-home pay of almost $30 billion/year.

And that reform would save about 80,000 jobs in the small business sector by 2019.

Gruber also knocked down the myth that health insurance reform will raise costs for small businesses. “Objective CBO analysis,” he pointed out, “shows that these claims are clearly wrong – reform will lower, not increase, non-group insurance costs.”

You have to love the nod to “openness” and “transparency” at the top of the post, preceding the linked sources (the links to sources remain accessible here).

UPDATE: I should also have noted the feedback loop which this White House post creates. As a reader puts it: “You missed the very sweet irony of Gruber continually relying on the CBO analysis, which is the exact analysis he told us that he was gaming by not being transparent and purposely obfuscating the language to get the CBO analysis that he wanted…”


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