The U.S. economy is "gathering strength" and plummeting oil prices are actually a "big plus" for Americans, former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman told CNBC on Tuesday.
While acknowledging disruptions in oil states, he said the collapse in crude is equivalent to $200 billion stimulus package.
"We're going to have good [economic] growth this year. And we're going to have a good rate of job creation. I think we will see some wage growth," Altman said, despite the December employment report showing a 5 cent drop in average hourly earnings—pulling the annualized gain down to 1.7 percent.
While workers are waiting for wages to rise, he said overall costs for health care are leveling out in response to Obamacare. "The remarkable fall in health care cost inflation reflects the degree to which, among other things, providers made a lot of changes in anticipation of adjusting to [Obamacare], which have really affected costs," the former Clinton administration official said on "Squawk Box."
"I think Obamacare for all its controversy is actually working," said Altman, the founder of investment banking advisory firm Evercore Partners. He said the expected Supreme Court decision this summer on federal health insurance subsidies will be "the biggest event of this year" in Washington.
As for the 2016 presidential election, he said he thinks Wall Street would do well with either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Jeb Bush in the White House.