MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect who bragged about deceiving the “stupid” American people to secure passage of the bill, has been paid an estimated $5.2 million by the federal government and 12 state governments for consulting services to assist in the design and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Breitbart News exchanged emails with Professor Gruber on Tuesday in an attempt to confirm this estimate, but Gruber would neither confirm nor deny the amounts.
“You have been paid in excess of $5.2 million for your economic consulting services related to the design and implementation of Obamacare by the federal government and 12 states, which include: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont, Michigan, West Virginia, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, California,” Breitbart News wrote in an e-mail to Gruber. “Could you confirm these facts put together from press reports?” we asked.
“Thanks for writing,” Gruber responded by email late Tuesday night. “I have no comment at this time. Sorry.”
Gruber, who was eager to expound upon his role as the architect of Obamacare in numerous public settings between 2009 and October 2014, has offered the same empty response to most press inquiries since the first video of his confessed deception broke on November 7. On November 8, he appeared on the progressive-friendly Ronan Farrow program on MSNBC. With that exception, the once talkative Gruber has now turned incommunicado.
Breitbart’s estimate of $5.2 million is based on publicly available reports on the amounts of Gruber’s Obamacare design and implementation contracts with the federal government ($392,600) and four states: Michigan ($481,050), Minnesota ($329,000), Vermont ($400,000), and Wisconsin ($400,000), as well as assumptions about contract sizes with eight additional states with which Gruber has contracts: West Virginia, Maine, Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, and California. The amount of those contracts has not been publicly reported:
As The Washington Post reported on Friday, “It’s safe to say that about $400,000 appears to be the standard rate for gaining access to the Gruber Microsimulation Model.”
Adding the $2 million from publicly disclosed contracts to the estimated $3.2 million from known contracts whose amount have not yet been publicly disclosed brings the current estimate of Gruber’s Obamacare-related earnings to $5.2 million.
Gruber’s Obamacare-related financial bonanza is based, in part, on the ubiquitous use of his proprietary Gruber Microsimulation Model in virtually every executive and legislative entity involved in the design and implementation of Obamacare: the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Congressional Budget Office (which is charged with providing Congress “independent” analysis of the impact of proposed legislation), and most state governments.
Gruber has essentially enjoyed a monopoly on economic analysis of Obamacare since February 25, 2009, barely a month after President Obama’s inauguration. On that date, the federal government issued a public notice that “[t]he 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.”
According to Solicitation Number AES2009 for Technical Assistance in Evaluating Options for Health 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.”
In essence, someone in the Obama administration wanted to make Gruber’s proprietary Gruber Microsimulation Model the “must have” analytic tool not only for the federal government, but also for every state government that would subsequently implement Obamacare after it became law, something that would not become reality until a year later, in March 2010.
It is unclear who in the Obama administration was behind this effective grant of monopoly to Gruber. Though the solicitation stated the contract was to be performed for the assistant secretary for Planning and Evaluation, no one occupied that office on February 25, 2009, when the solicitation was issued.
The assistant secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services position had been empty since its previous occupant, now Senator-elect Ben Sasse (R-NE), resigned at the end of the George W. Bush administration in January 2009. Due to political difficulties encountered with President Obama’s first choice as Secretary of Health and Human Services, former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), none of the top positions at HHS were filled in February 2009.
President Obama did not nominate Kathleen Sebelius to be secretary of Health and Human Services until April 2009. It was not until a month later, in May 2009, that President Obama nominated Dr. Sherry Glied to become the assistant secretary of Planning and Evaluation.
Who then authorized the sole source contract to Professor Gruber in February 2009?
On Tuesday evening, Breitbart News posed that question to Dr. Glied, who is now the dean of the School of Public Service at New York University.
“All this [the sole source Gruber contract] happened before I arrived and I don’t know who arranged it,” Glied emailed Breitbart News. “By the time I arrived, I think the contract was over.”
The most disturbing fact of the ubiquitous nature of the Gruber Microsimulation Model is the degree to which it may have influenced the economic model used by the Congressional Budget Office in March, 2010 when it delivered its faulty scoring analysis to Congress prior to the passage of Obamacare that the bill would reduce the deficit over ten years.
According to its enabling legislation, the Congressional Budget Office is charged with providing Congress with “independent” analysis of the budgetary and economic impact of major proposed legislation. But CBO’s favorable scoring of Obamacare in its March 2010 analysis has led several conservatives to question the degree to which that document was independently developed.
Not only are there questions surrounding the degree to which the CBO model reflected the same biases found in the Gruber Microsimulation Model used by the Obama administration, two of the economists on its staff charged with implementation of that model were protégés and former Phd. students at MIT of Professor Gruber, as first reported by the Weekly Standard.