Tuesday, June 5, 2012

qotd: Jonathan Gruber: "We don't know how to fix it."

June 3, 2012
Health reform gets messy in Massachusetts
By Kyle Cheney and Jason Millman

Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist who advised the Legislature and Romney on the 2006 Massachusetts law, pleaded with stakeholders to accept that curbing health costs takes time.

"We don't know the answer. We don't know how to fix it now, and we have to experiment and be more patient," Gruber told a health care conference in Boston in late May.


March 27, 2012
Hardball with Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews:  Single payer. Is that a better economic deal, with no profit motive?

Jonathan Gruber:  I think that single payer, if you could start over, I think that single payer has a lot to recommend it, but we can't...

Comment:  MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, speaking on curbing health care costs, told a Boston conference late last month, "We don't know how to fix it." 

Why do we keep quoting MIT economist Jonathan Gruber? Because he was an authority upon whom both Governor Romney and President Obama relied for advice on comprehensive health reform. Yet his utterances seem to vitiate his previous advice.

He does concede that "single payer has a lot to recommend it," but, he, like many others who know better, dismisses it simply on the basis of a lack of political feasibility. But in continuing to support a system that "we don't know how to fix," does that really represent critical thinking?

Conceding that "single payer has a lot to recommend it" is quite a concession coming from such a noted economist who has so strongly advocated for a system that we don't know how to fix. If only President Obama and Presidential-candidate Romney would listen to him now - that is when Gruber speaks about the economics of single payer, not the politics.

Suppose the politics changed and we had a President, a Congress and an informed public fully in support of single payer. Do you think that Jonathan Gruber would insist that we continue with a system that we don't know how to fix? After all, he does understand fundamental economics.

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