An unproductive exchange about health care

Here’s a video of Maria Bartiromo going at it with Obamacare architect, Jonathan Gruber:

I think this is a good example of an unproductive exchange, and Bartiromo is mostly the guilty party.

She’s taking him to task on ill effects of Obamacare.

His first defense against her claim that premiums are rising is that “people are paying less now than they were projected to pay had Obamacare not become law.

Bartiromo missed an opportunity. As the election night results illustrated, projections aren’t always to be trusted. So, comparing what people are really paying to what someone projected they would pay without it isn’t very credible. That assumes someone got that projection correct, and that can never be proven.

Bartiromo also states that economic growth is slow and Obamacare is a factor.

Gruber says there is not a single data point that implies that.

Bartiromo should have asked how could there be? There is nothing to compare it to. Obamacare exists everywhere. There is no control or holdout group where it doesn’t exist that we could compare to and see if there’s a differential in economic growth. So, how could there be a data point, of the type he’s referring to, to support it?

Gruber moves on and says at the 9 minute mark that in the 5 years since Obamacare was passed, the growth in employer provided insurance premiums was the slowest in measured history.

I went there. Here’s the chart. Here’s a snapshot:

family-premiums

Eye-balling the trend, it looks like, at best, Obamacare has had no impact in the trajectory of insurance premiums or worker contributions.

As for Gruber’s statement about the ‘slowest rate of growth,’ that’s more of a result of the cost base growing so much than anything having to do with Obamacare. Here’s an example:

If insurance cost you $1,000 a year ago and $1,500 this year, it increased by $500, or 50%.

Next year, if the cost goes up another $500, Gruber can claim it only increased by 33% this time — a slower rate of growth than last year (33% vs. 50%), but in both years it still went up by $500.

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