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Comparing Rollouts: Mass. Vs. Federal Health Reform06:19
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In this April 12, 2006, file photo, then-Gov. Mitt Romney is seen with lawmakers and staffers after signing the state's universal health law at Faneuil Hall in Boston. (AP)
In this April 12, 2006, file photo, then-Gov. Mitt Romney is seen with lawmakers and staffers after signing the state's universal health law at Faneuil Hall in Boston. (AP)

President Obama is in Boston today to talk up his embattled health care overhaul, which was modeled on the state health care law passed by Republican Governor Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

The president is expected to say what the White House has been arguing — that the Massachusetts law had a rough rollout also, but it has become a success despite those early problems.

But economist Jonathan Gruber, who was a key adviser for both the state and the federal laws, told reporters in a White House conference call that the rollout processes may not offer a clear comparison, and that at the national level, "We need to be patient and measure the outcomes in months and years, not days and weeks."

Gruber joins Here & Now's Robin Young to explain.

Interview Highlights: Jonathan Gruber

On when it's time to worry

"If they can get the website up and running by the end of November, that leaves people plenty of time to find their insurance options and enroll either on the web or over the phone for January 1. Moreover, the really key date here is March. If they don't have things running smoothly by March next year, then it becomes a crisis, because then it becomes hard to impose the individual mandate."

On existing health plans being canceled

"There are going to be 2 to 3 million Americans that are going to have to buy up, that's true. But many of those people have really terrible insurance ... The backers of this law said one motivation for the law was that there are many people who don't have real insurance in America, we've got to get them real insurance. That was very clear from the start."

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Guest

  • Jonathan Gruber, MIT economics professor who advised both Massachusetts Republican governor Mitt Romey and President Obama on health care reform.

This segment aired on October 30, 2013.

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