Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interview With RomneyCare Author Jonathan Gruber

The 3/29/2011 Washington Post has an interesting interview with RomneyCare author Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist.

Among some of the tidbits.

First, Gruber was definitely aware of the argument about the individual mandate being an infringement of freedom. However, MA Governor Romney was concerned about the alleged "free rider problem". And Gruber states:
What I'd like to think carried the day was that I pointed out that without the mandate you would spend the same money and cover fewer people.
It is equally true in Gruber's mind that without the Massachusetts example, Obama's individual mandate plan in all likelihood would not have passed. He says that as the federal health care plan emerged, the Massachusetts plan was "widely discussed." And he should know. He was first called in as an unpaid consultant to work on Obama's health care plan, then as a paid consultant to HHS to work on health care modeling, and then as a paid consultant working with Congress to develop the bill.
Finally, Gruber
...finds it 'depressing' that Romney now feels compelled to distance himself from [the MA plan].
As the Washington Post interviewer Jennifer Rubing concludes:
1) Romney championed the individual mandate, overriding concerns about personal freedom

2) The plan today is pretty much the same as what Romney signed into law

3) Without it in all likelihood we wouldn't have ObamaCare today.

That might sound like a reason for Democrats to vote for him, but in a Republican presidential primary all of that may be the death knell of the Romney candidacy.
This is yet another example of the fact that what happens at the state political level can eventually have an enormous effect at the national level. If you want to see how ugly the legislative sausage-making can get, read the whole interview.

(Via Instapundit.)