Just days after the opening of online health-insurance exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act, the principal architect of the Massachusetts health-care system and chief adviser to President Barack Obama’s plan spoke at Washington University. Jonathan Gruber, PhD, a foremost authority on the federal Affordable Care Act, explained how the federal law works and how it will benefit society during his Assembly Series lecture, “Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works.”
Washington University students, faculty and physicians, and members of the larger community packed Brown Hall for the Oct. 4 lecture, which was the keynote address for WUSTL’s GlobeMed* conference Oct. 5. (GlobeMed’s mission is to advance global health equity by empowering students and communities to improve the health of people living in poverty around the world.
A professor of economics at MIT since 1992, Gruber also serves as director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has garnered a number of prestigious awards and honors, including membership to the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Social Insurance.
Named “One of the Top 25 Most Innovative and Practical Thinkers of Our Time” in 2011 by Slate magazine, Gruber is the author of a leading textbook, Public Finance and Public Policy; a graphic novel, Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works, which transforms the more than 1,000-page health-care bill into 140 clever and understandable pages; as well as more than 140 scholarly articles. He is the editor of six research volumes.
Barb Rea is director of Assembly Series.
*The WUSTL GlobeMed chapter is one of 50 university-based chapters operating in the United States. Additional campus partners for the lecture and conference were the Gephardt Institute for Public Service; the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government and Public Policy; the Brown School, and the School of Law.
Gruber’s research focuses on the areas of public finance and health economics. From 2003–06, he was a key architect of Massachusetts’ health-reform effort, and after it was enacted, he joined its main implementing body. During the 2008 presidential election, he served as consultant to the Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Obama campaigns.
During Obama’s first term, Gruber served in his administration as a technical consultant and worked with the president and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”