- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2017

Obamacare co-architect Jonathan Gruber, who once credited the “stupidity of the American voter” for the passage of the sweeping health-care exchange bill, said Sunday that President Trump was to blame for its decline.

After being told that Iowa’s lone insurance company in 94 of its 99 counties is considering dropping out, Mr. Gruber said, “Look, and whose fault is this?”

“Before President Trump was elected, there were no counties in America that did not have an insurer,” Mr. Gruber said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Since President Trump has been elected … “

Host Chris Wallace then interrupted Mr. Gruber and said, “Wait, you’re going to blame the problems with Obamacare on President Trump?”

An MIT economics professor, Mr. Gruber was widely criticized after a video surfaced in 2014 in which he said that the “stupidity of the American voter” was key to Obamacare’s passage.

Signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act has been plagued for years by lower-than-expected enrollment and higher-than-expected costs.

In his Sunday interview, however, Mr. Gruber said the president has undermined Obamacare since taking office Jan. 20.

“Insurers’ profits were trending positively, insurers were saying positive things about their ability to stay in the exchange, to succeed,” Mr. Gruber said. “Then you have a president who comes in, undercuts open enrollment, doesn’t honor the obligations this law makes to insurers.”

As a result, he said, “premiums are going up and insurers are exiting.”

Republican strategist Karl Rove said that Mr. Trump may have stopped the Affordable Care Act enrollment advertising after assuming office, but that Obamacare’s problems with soaring premiums and fleeing insurers began long before that.

“Trump stopped the ads on the 26th of January, and the end of the enrollment period was the 31st,” Mr. Rove said. “Really? The problems of Obamacare are going to be solved by four days’ worth of TV ads?”

House Republicans passed Thursday a repeal-and-replace bill, the American Health Care Act, which Mr. Gruber criticized as inferior to Obamacare.

“You had a system which was not working perfectly, but it’s a system which was very fixable,” said Mr. Gruber.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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