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An Interview With MIT’s Dr. John Gruber, Key Obamacare Advocate

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I devoted the second hour of today’s show to an extended interview with Dr. John Gruber of MIT, one of the key economists pushing Obamacare. The transcript is here. On Tuesday I interviewed Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt and on Tuesday (transcript here), and on Monday Brookings’ economist Henry Aaron (transcript here.)

Among the many interesting exchanges the affable professor provides is this one:

HH: Dr., Professor, that’s where clarity enters in. People think this is all about health care, and the comprehensive solution to health care is being proposed. But as you’ve already sort of clarified in the course of this conversation, we’re not fixing Medicare, we’re not fixing the doctor reimbursement problem, so we’re not really fixing health care in America, are we?

JG: But once again, what matters for health care in America is not the physician problem. It’s not the Medicare trust fund. It’s the fact there’s fundamentally, if we don’t control health care costs, in one hundred years, America will be bankrupt. That’s fundamentally what this is about.

HH: I understand that’s your point of view, but if a person’s point of view was that the solution to health care requires a comprehensive solution to the physician availability, to physician incentive to stay in the game, not to leave the game as the Investor’s Business Daily poll showed, to fix Medicare so we have a fiscal sanity going forward, then this bill doesn’t do any of that.

JG: This bill doesn’t do a lot of things. This bill doesn’t deal with the war in Afghanistan. I mean, this bill doesn’t do a lot of things. What you have to ask yourself is, I don’t think we want the perfect to be the enemy of the good here. You have to ask yourself, on net, is this bill a good thing?


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