University of Michigan professor and senior Brookings fellow Justin Wolfers on Thursday created a chart depicting the “winners and losers” under the Affordable Care Act, sourced to a Ryan Lizza article that used estimates from M.I.T. economist Jon Gruber, a former adviser to Mitt Romney.
The chart portrays the degree to which Republicans and critics of Obamacare have amplified the media’s coverage around the relatively small percentage of Americans who have received cancellation notices for stripped-down individual market plans that failed to meet the benefit requirements of the ACA.
Gruber, called the architect of Romney’s successful health care plan in Massachusetts, argues that of the six percent of Americans who buy their own health care on the individual market, three percent would have negligible change to their policies. He also addresses President Obama’s memorable but over-simplified promise, that if you like your plan, you would be able to keep it. From Lizza’s writeup:
“We’ve decided as a society that we don’t want people to have insurance plans that expose them to more than six thousand dollars in out-of-pocket expenses,” Gruber said. Obama obviously should have known that his blanket statement about “keeping what you have” could not apply to this class of policyholders.
Gruber summarized his stats: ninety-seven per cent of Americans are either left alone or are clear winners, while three per cent are arguably losers. “We have to as a society be able to accept that,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, that’s a shame, but no law in the history of America makes everyone better off.”
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.