Name: Jonathan Gruber, PhD

Location: Cambridge, MA. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Specialty: Economist. Public Policy Advisor.

All right welcome back. If you could pick the ideal patient population, armed with the best knowledge, fluent in medical jargon, generally healthy and willing to comply with recommended treatments, who would you pick? How about doctors? Doctors may not be perfect patients but at least they should outperform similar non-clinicians, right?

Surprisingly, little to no research has actually been done comparing the care, compliance and outcomes of doctors to comparable groups of non- physicians. For reasons we’ll soon see, this is actually a difficult question to tackle, but it’s a very important question with broader implications.

Today’s guest is MIT economist, Jonathan Gruber. He recently co-authored a study using a unique data source to examine just how good doctors and their family members are when they find themselves in the patient seat. Spoiler alert, obviously if the results aren’t surprising, we probably would not be here talking about it.

That’s for the first part of this episode. In the second, we’ll explore some of Jonathan’s other work. Besides his 160 researcher papers, seven books, numerous awards and prestigious appointments, there’s also something else Jonathan is known for. He was one of key advisors (come have even called architects) of Romney-care and Obamacare.

Perhaps you’ve forgotten so let’s see if this jogs your memory:

So if you’ve been listening to us long enough, you know PeerSpectrum, unlike CNN, is not your home for politics. There are plenty of other places to go for that. Not that Keith and I don’t have our opinions, we just recognize our limitations. We aren’t journalists and we don’t pretend to be. We’ll leave the politics to them.

Did we bring up Gruber’s history and talk about it? You bet. There was no way we could skip it completely. In his own words, Gruber became a virtual proxy for the intense debates taking place during the lead up the passage of the ACA. Whatever you think about Obamacare, or Gruber personally, he’s important figure and someone worth talking with. With that said, let’s get started.

Resources and More:

Jonathan Gruber, MIT Profile and CV

“Is Great Information Good Enough? Evidence from Physicians as Patients.”

NBER Working Paper No. 26038 Issued in July 2019

“Defensive Medicine: Evidence from Military Immunity.”

NBER Working Paper No. 24846 Issued in July 2018.

Jonathan’s new Book: “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.”

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