The Oz of Health Insurance Reform

Jonathan Gruber crunches the numbers on healthcare reform

The man to whom the Obama administration turned to run the numbers on healthcare reform—including the insurance mandate now at the center of a Supreme Court maelstrom—is Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D. ’92, a professor of economics at MIT. A profile of Gruber, whose doctoral dissertation was advised by Lawrence H. Summers, led the business section of the March 29 New York Times. The article details Gruber’s role as an adviser, first to then Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney during the state’s healthcare-reform process, and later to former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as to leaders of numerous other states hoping to enact health-insurance reforms. Gruber is considered preeminent in his use of predictive models to forecast the effects of healthcare legislation.

He is also the author of a comic book explaining the health care reform law, which has been praised by Eckstein professor of applied economics David Cutler, himself an expert on the healthcare industry and author of Your Money or Your Life, which in 2004 made the case that healthcare reform in the United States is necessary to keep the economy from being overwhelmed by spiraling costs. Cutler, who comments in the Times on whether the mandate to buy health insurance is really essential (and who taught a Core course in health economics), was himself recently the subject of a videotaped interview with The New Yorker.

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