Jonathan Gruber

What Jonathan Gruber's Health Care Contracts Tell Us About His Deceptions



Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist and Obamacare architect who helped craft both the Massachusetts health care overhaul and the federal health reform law, has picked up state and federal government contracts worth millions of dollars over the years for consulting work on Obamacare, as well as other health policy issues.

Tomorrow, he'll be testifying in front of the House Oversight Committee. The Department of Health and Human Services has already made a written request that administration staffers not be placed next to Gruber in the lineup, according to Politico

That's not the only slight Gruber has suffered recently. After coming under fire after a variety of recorded remarks surfaced in which Gruber argued that deception was employed in order to pass the Affordable Care Act, Gruber has lost some of his valuable consulting contracts. 

In November, the state of Vermont said it would not pay out the rest of Gruber's contract, reportedly worth $400,000. He had already been paid $160,000.  

Around the same time, North Carolina also said it would be ending its contract with Gruber, also said to be worth $400,000. Gruber would end up getting just $100,000. 

Gruber's various health care consulting contracts help shed light on both his influence and the nature of some of his deceptions. 

The federal contracts, worth just shy of $400,000, provided access to economic simulations that allowed the bill's authors to perfect—and, one might argue, to game—the law's Congressional Budget Office score. 

Gruber misled people about the existence of those contacts even while offering up supportive quotes about the health law in the guise of an independent analyst. When contacted by the media, he declined to disclose his work on the law for the government.

More damningly, when Gruber published an op-ed in The Washington Post at the end of 2009, he was required to submit a disclosure form. The form specifically asked if he had "received any funding, for research or otherwise, from organizations or persons identified in the column." His answer? "No." The Post subsequently published an update. 

It's also interesting to compare Gruber's work for the federal government with his work for the states. the thrust of Gruber's most prominent report to the federal government was that Obamacare would lower health premiums. That report was widely cited in the media, as well as by lawmakers, including then House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the White House. 

But as Avik Roy pointed out in 2012 at Forbes, Gruber's later reports to states investigating the possibility of setting up health insurance exchanges under the federal law suggested something rather different about how the law would affect premiums. Gruber, Roy wrote, was "quietly telling state governments that the law will significantly increase the cost of insurance." Indeed, in at least one report, produced for the state of Wisconsin, Gruber estimated that for a significant percentage of people, costs would go up even after the application of the law's insurance subsidies. 

These are the sort of deceptions and misdirections that Gruber described in the wave of videos that were unearthed earlier this year: declining to reveal relevant information and switching messages depending on which audience is listening. That's how Gruber sold Obamacare, and it's also how he sold his own work. 

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  1. Dipshits who voted for it without reading it lost their seats, and this guy lost some taxpayer dollars. Still not enough suffering.

    1. More importantly (to Gruber), all his Bigwig friends in DC are no longer returning his phone calls.

    2. The guy still easily walked away with at least over $500,000. Which is just insane.

      1. There’s probably another $1M for walking into Bill O’Reilly’s studio and naming names.

    3. He didn’t “lose” shit. He still gained millions, but he would’ve gained more if he hadn’t come out and been honest about it.


    / 8%ers everywhere

  3. Also, I hear the SNL “McGruber” theme song every time I hear this guy’s name.

    Screwing up our healthcare noooow!
    Watch me go I’ll show you how!

  4. The Department of Health and Human Services has already made a written request that administration staffers not be placed next to Gruber in the lineup, according to Politico.

    Oh. my.

    Somehow, I suspect that Mr. Gruber will be back before Congress next year and that it will be a much longer appearance.

  5. side note =

    “contracts worth millions of dollars over the years”

    the link goes to national review, whose opening paragraph is

    “A little deception goes along way ? toward paying the bills, at least. The Daily Caller reports that Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and Obamacare “architect,” has earned “at least” $5.9 million since he was recruited by the Obama administration to help craft its health-care law

    According to the Caller’s Chuck Ross:…”

    neither here nor there = but is there any particular reason to link to some other secondary reference than the actual source-story itself?

    1. I assume you mean something other than laziness?

      1. Maybe it was professional courtesy, if Peter gets some tips on stuff from people @ NR. who knows.

  6. Will he finally be held to account for the Monorail scandal?

    1. No link to the song?

      1. Marge: But healthcare is still all cracked and broken!

        Bart: Sorry mom, the mob has spoken!

  7. What I find fascinating is that Gruber thought he could admit to the deceit — on video — and still get away with it. That is evidence for how corrupt the system is.

    We all know politicians lie — but they’re getting bold enough now that they don’t even care if we know. Gruber is just one instance of it.

    1. “Libertarian|12.8.14 @ 3:26PM|#

      What I find fascinating is that Gruber thought he could admit to the deceit — on video — and still get away with it”

      You say this and meanwhile there are people everywhere trying to explain how the Rolling Stone’s recent retraction of its “Rape Story” doesn’t mean that the fake-story-isn’t-really-about-the-big-picture.

      The left doesn’t give a wet fart that Gruber lied. they are ‘sad’ that he got caught.

      1. What part of GREATER GOOD don’t you get?

        1. I think that should be GRATER GOOD. Unless it rubs you the wrong way.

  8. Frankly he’s the most honest guy in the room. He just didn’t happen to be the one on the Podium lying to the country. Of course we pretty much knew everything he was saying without actually knowing he existed. Although the website debacle was a bit of a surprise to me at least.

    1. ‘Of course we pretty much knew everything he was saying’

      Citation needed.

      /fooled prog.


        That is all!

        /another fooled prog

    2. He was honest to his peers behind closed doors. He lied his ass off to the rest of us.

  9. Was he personally paid all this money or was it funding for a project? Because usually if it’s funding for a project you pay underlings from that and pay the costs of doing the research but you don’t personally pocket the money. But this was “consulting” not research so it makes it sound like he personally got all that money or most of it. Anyone know?

    1. He’s a college professor, Juice, which means that all the scut work (research, number crunching) is done by students who may or not be paid. Sure, MIT probably gets a cut.

      The more important thing is that the money flow has been turned off. And he’s probably going to have a lot of legal fees coming up. I’m sure he’s getting coached on what he can/can’t say in testimony to protect himself.

  10. Tomorrow, he’ll be testifying in front of the House Oversight Committee. The Department of Health and Human Services has already made a written request that administration staffers not be placed next to Gruber in the lineup, according to Politico.

    I thought… no one in Washington knew who this guy was?

  11. What else can he reveal to stupid voters? That working age schlubs pay for endless Medicare bennies for old folks?

    What if voters knew that????

    1. Oh, the ‘Plug is desperate. This is going to be a fun year coming up.


      1. Dumb bitch. I wrote actuarial analysis for a while.

        And no one outside Congress voted for Obamacare.

        1. And you’re still a dumbfuck in Grubby Grubers’ eyes.

        2. I wrote actuarial analysis for a while.

          You never did any such thing Weigel.

  12. I wish they would let me coach this fucker. The truth would make this little inquisition seem irrelevant. Instead he might be told not to make headlines for Drudge or Bratfart.

  13. I hear shrieking.

    Delicious, pained, shrieking.

    Now with 8% more butthurt!

    1. I remember when the “8%” thing started, but not exactly what it means. Could you enlighten me, please?

      1. I cited a poll that said 56% wanted to keep and improve ovate but didn’t mention only 8% liked it as is.

        The Peanuts thought that meant something.

        1. To a statist such as yourself, having only 8% like something that is passed does mean nothing.

          In fact, it is a feature, not a bug of Obamacare.

  14. “Gruber would end up getting just $100,000.”
    Only in a supremely fucked up, cronyist, political feedback loop would a sniveling little shitheel like this be paid “just” 7 figures.

    Thankfully he’s barricaded in Massachusetts, among friendly forces.

    And yet in spite of all the evidence to the contrary – of the lying, doctored figures, or of disastrous initial medicare-baiting for states to get suckered into paying down the road – journos and progs are stuck in “WHY CANT GREEDY KOCHTARDS WORK FOR THE GREATER GOOD?” mode.

    1. They will argue they must play dirty to get things done for the greater good. That’s why I’m sure Gruber’s revelations will be met with a collective ‘meh’ by the left. He was just doing God’s work.

  15. Oh geeze, give the guy a break! He was obviously quoted out of context and everybody knows you can’t believe everything you see on youtube anyway. And it’s not his fault that a majority of the voters are idiots. He’s just calling it as he sees it. A guy has to make a living. geeze

  16. I predict by this time tomorrow there will be nothing to see so just move on .org

    1. Or G? Why wasn’t I invited?

  17. Gruber’s tone, caught several times, was no “slip up,” it was a “candid camera” peek into false Jew Rabbinical Talmudism’s liturgy any who mistakenly “worship” with their Zionist cult can learn from their “rabbis'” lips direct each Saturday morning.

    They are taught, in their Synagogue of Satan right here in Our Land: “to lie to, cheat, rob, enslave, and kill, with impunity” all we Black and White “Gentiles,” they call “a mindless herd of cattle,” “Goyim.” “They” deem us to be “sub-human animals.”

    God gave us the “New Israel,” America, in covenant, “into which all nations of the world flow,” and “they” believe we are to be “killed,” or their “slaves.” Wonder that dozens of Mossad mechanics were arrested with explosives on 9/11 near Rockefellers’ “asbestos abatement” and deported?

  18. I’m guessing VP nomination 10 years from now on the Dem ticket. With the Dems holding up his sterling work on Obamacare as his main credential.

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