Ever since it was exposed that MIT professor Jonathan Gruber admitted Obamacare was “written in a tortured way” to pass muster with “stupid” American voters, he’s been having problems.
“Gruber’s billing practices have been under scrutiny in several states where he has contracted to perform an economic analysis for the creation of a state healthcare system,” the report said. In one state, “there’s so little back-up the auditor can’t decide who did what, if any, work.”
Now it’s getting even worse.
Judicial Watch, the Washington watchdog, has announced a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning contracts and consultancy agreements with Gruber.
The organization is targeting a 2009 deal with Gruber in which he was the only person considered for the work and was paid nearly $400,000.
Judicial Watch said it filed the lawsuit after HHS refused to respond to a November 2014 FOIA request.
Sought are records regarding the deal in which Clint Druk of the HHS Program Support Center reported: “The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), intends to negotiate with Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D. on a sole sources basis for technical assistance in evaluating options for national healthcare reform. The basis for restricting competition is the authority 13.106-1(b) because only one source is reasonably available to satisfy agency requirements. The anticipated contract period will be for one year.”
Druk had written: “Dr. Gruber’s ongoing advisory role with the Office of Health Reform strongly positions him to meet HHS’ requirements the most efficiently, which is a key requirement in order for well-developed legislative proposals to be put forth for congressional consideration as soon as possible.”
Gruber himself confirmed the first part of the contract was for $95,000 and federal documents reveal an extension for $297,600.
Judicial Watch said there are reports Gruber was paid “at least” $5.9 million after joining forces with President Obama to assemble a national health care law.
According to the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, the federal government has paid Gruber at least $4 million since 2000 for his work as an expert witness, a legal consultant and for his consultation on Obamacare.
“That comes on top of at least $1.6 million the MIT economist has been paid by several states to consult on their health care bills,'” Judicial Watch said.
Last year, a video surfaced on the American Commitment website showing Gruber talking about how hiding information from the American public is a huge political advantage.
Obamacare, he said, “was written in a tortured way to make sure that CBO (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes.”
“If CBO scores the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK. So it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law that made it explicit that the healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed,” he said.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. Call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass,” said Gruber.
See the video:
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the Obama HHS is “flouting FOIA law to keep the truth about Gruber from the American public and, it seems, the Supreme Court.”
“HHS doesn’t want to disclose Mr. Gruber’s key role in Obamacare because his statements could be used by the high court to upend Obama’s illegal tax subsidies,” Fitton said. “Why else would HHS go into full cover-up mode about contracts with one man?”
Fitton said that from the beginning, “lack of transparency” has been essential to keeping Obamacare alive.
“President Obama’s knowing lies about how Americans could keep their doctors and insurance under Obamacare show that he is no better than Gruber in his contempt for ‘stupid’ American voters.”
The Supreme Court now is deciding whether subsidies designated solely for those who get their policies from state exchanges can also be granted to people who use the national exchange.
Judicial Watch said it has sued the Obama administration nearly a dozen times since 2013 to get basic information about the health care takeover.
WND previously reported that while the Obama administration tried to distance itself from Gruber and his comments, the professor’s official bio at a university project known to be close to the White House boasted that Gruber helped to craft Obamacare.
Gruber’s bio at the Hamilton Project, an economic initiative launched by the Brookings Institution in 2006, reads: “During 2009-2010 he served as a technical consultant to the Obama Administration and worked with both the Administration and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
And Obama himself spoke at the 2006 launch of the Hamilton Project, where he stated he had stolen ideas “liberally” from Gruber.
Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner said Gruber not only confirmed many of the conservative Obamacare criticisms but revealed the ugly side of how the administration pursued its signature legislative priority.
“This kind of validation from Jonathan Gruber, the architect of this law, is really shocking; that he would admit that the only way they would possibly be able to get this passed was basically to lie to the American people,” said Turner in a recent interview.
She added that those fears have been confirmed by the rising disapproval numbers for the law as more details become known.
“The more people find out about the law, the more they were realized how they were duped with all of the promises,” she said. “The thing I think is really telling is that this is the guy who really helped shape and craft this law. For him to say the only way they could get it passed was through trickery is astonishing.
Turner also believes Gruber’s attitude is indicative of the entire administration’s approach to health care and other policies.
“I really think that it’s part of the whole philosophy, the whole philosophy that health care is just too complicated for people to figure out for themselves and all these smart elites need to figure it out for us,” she said.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Grace-Marie Turner: