Obamacare Adviser: Outcome 'Not What Anyone Wanted'

Monday, 11 Nov 2013 10:54 PM

By Greg Richter

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The Obamacare team thought people would happily drop their current healthcare plans for better ones, says David Cutler, a Harvard economics professor who help craft the plan.

That didn't pan out. Millions have seen plans they wanted to keep dropped. And the replacement options often cost more.

"This is not what was envisioned," Cutler said Monday on Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File."

Additionally, the HealthCare.gov website has been troubled with glitches that have made it practically impossible to use. People who don't get insurance through their employers were supposed to be able to sign up through the site.

Official numbers will be released Friday, but reports Monday said that fewer than 50,000 people signed up in October, the first month. The prediction had been 10 times that amount.

But glitches were only part of the signup problem. Young, healthy people who don't have insurance were expected to sign up to keep costs for everyone else lower. A number of those are expected to opt for a fine, which is cheaper.

That would be bad news, Cutler said.

"If the numbers aren't there, then the premiums in the exchanges will be very high because the people who will go through the most hoops to get coverage are those for whom the costs are highest and the existing coverage is the worst," he said.

Cutler wrote a letter to Obama adviser Larry Summers in May 2010,  saying, "I am concerned the personnel and processes you have in place are not up to the task, and that health reform will be unsuccessful as a result."

Host Megyn Kelly asked if his warnings went unheeded.

"I don't know what happened internally," he replied. "I think the end result was not what anyone wanted."

Dramatist David Mamet, appearing in a later segment, mocked that answer.

"That guy's screwed," Mamet said, "because if you listen to him he's a scientist, and he was correct in 2010, but he can't come out an answer your questions directly because he's trying to promote an agenda."

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