Jonathan Gruber

House Oversight Committee Subpoenas Obamacare Work and Contract Details

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In sworn congressional testimony on Tuesday, MIT economist and Obamacare architect repeatedly refused to immediately provide details of the contracts, payments, and work he'd produced as a health law consultant to multiple states and the federal government. Reports suggest that Gruber has received millions of dollars for his work over the years.

Gruber did not submit the standard disclosure form before his testimony. (Gruber said that he had been advised by his lawyer that the alternative disclosure he submitted was in compliance with committee requirements.) He said that he had received nearly $400,000 for his work modeling the effects of Obamacare for the federal government, a number that has been widely reported, but when asked for additional information, he repeatedly told members of the House Oversight Committee that they could take it up with his lawyer. He was warned that if he continued to respond that way, the work would be subpoenaed. 

As of this morning, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) has followed through with a formal request for the documents. According to a press release, the request covers… 

1. All documents and communications to or from any federal, state, or local government employee, including, but not limited to, any document or communication referring or relating to the Affordable Care Act or federal and state health care exchanges.

2. All documents and communications referring or relating to funding, for research or otherwise, from any federal, state, or local government agency, including, but not limited to, any contract(s) with a federal, state, or local government agency.

3. All documents and communications referring or relating to work product produced to any federal, state, or local government agency, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, the results of any and all economic models or simulations.

One thing to be on the lookout for when this comes through: Gruber's estimate of how many people would lose their existing insurance under Obamacare.

Gruber admitted during questioning that his econometric model, created for use by the administration and congressional staff drafting the law, estimated that some Americans would not be able to keep their existing health plans, but he wouldn't say how many. Shouldn't that mean that Gruber knew that administration's repeated promises that those who like their health plans could keep their plans under the law weren't true?

Gruber was asked about the promise, and tried to dodge the question by saying that he was not a political adviser. But eventually he explained how he understood the president's promise. "I interpreted the administration's comments as saying that for the vast majority of Americans the law would not affect the productive health insurance arrangements that they have," he said. "I did not see a problem with the administration's statement."

Of course he didn't. Gruber is, after all, someone who argued that "lack of transparency" was key to passing the health law. Gruber wanted the law to pass, and so despite knowing that the administration's statement was inaccurate, he did not see it as a problem. 

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  1. As of this morning, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) has followed through with a formal request for the documents.

    If they are federal government contracts, the fedgov has copies. Ask HHS for them.

    1. I hear hard drives crashing.

      1. and dogs chewing.

          1. “The latest and greatest in shredder technology. We’ve adapted the new, low friction, high speed rollers of the Fed’s printing presses to document shredding use.”

    2. If they are federal government contracts, the fedgov has copies. Ask HHS for them.

      You’re assuming that they were only contracts with HHS.

      Subpoenaing Gruber is the right method to gather the information, on purely utilitarian grounds.

      Besides fuck that cocksucking money Gruber.

      1. As much as I’d like to see them subpoena his ass, this gives them the ability to say “see, we asked nice first.”

        Plus, couldn’t he refuse the subpoena on the grounds of self-incrimination.

        But, yeah, non-secret (as in classified) contracts with the federal government should certainly be available to Congress (or anyone). Also most states have FOIA laws and contracts are one of the easiest things to get under those.

        Unless they are setting him up knowing he’ll leave things out.

        1. self-incrimination on what? He’s not charge with a crime, just with telling malicious truths about how this bill was passed. Gruber didn’t cast a single vote; Dems knew what they were doing.

          1. While all that is true, wareagle, people can and have pleaded the Fifth when testifying before Congress – Lois Lerner, various mobsters.

            Because once you admit something in Congressional testimony, it can be used as evidence in court.

            1. Hasn’t he already waived the Fifth by giving testimony?

              1. Apparently not, according to the article.

            2. You can’t testify against yourself, but it is illegal to withhold incriminating documents in your possession.

      2. You’re assuming that they were only contracts with HHS.

        Not really, I am assuming most of the contracts with the fedgov were with HHS. I am sure there are other departments that had contracts with him as well. My point being, rather than spend a lengthy and expensive court battle to get the contracts, ask the departments for them.

      3. He made most of his money from various states.

  2. LOL, ‘we gotta pass the bill sign the contract to find out what’s in it what went into it

  3. The hammer needs to drop on gruber. The assholes a fucking evil schemer that is inherently dishonest and suckling on the public teat.

    1. He’s like a real life version of an Ayn Rand caricature of a shitty political villain.

  4. estimated that some Americans would not be able to keep their existing health plans,

    Seeing as ObamaCare mandated that those plans change, I simply don’t understand why everyone doesn’t acknowledge that ObamaCare meant that virtually no one would be able to keep their existing health plan.

    1. Well, because as we have seen acknowledging that truth means you are racist and a denier of progress.

  5. He looks like he’s about to blow that microphone. Yes I’m immature, get over it.

    Also, keep questioning him. Call him in front of the committee again and again. Because this asshole fancies himself a skilled liar, but when you back him into a corner he’ll admit the whole, ugly, dirty truth right on camera.

    1. I’d modify that though, and say that the GOP needs to nominate one guy to do the inquisition. The way they did it last time with each member of the committee getting 5 minutes or whatever is worthless. They recovered too much ground.

      I know, I know it will be tough to convince the members of the committee to give up their time in the spotlight, but it would be so much better if one guy just kept dogging him for 30 or 45 minutes than to be peppered by each of them.

  6. Of course he wanted the bill to pass. He made a lot of money helping write the thing, and he stood to make a lot more setting up exchanges. Plus whatever “consulting” needs the government would have in the future. He basically set himself up for life, or so he thought.

    This is the kind of rent-seeking, self-serving Top Men our buddy Shreek wants in charge of everything.

  7. I wouldn’t mind it if Gruber met the road, and on that road were a dozen speeding 18-wheelers driven by teenage boys who were just given their first hit of meth.

    1. And whiskey, lots of whiskey nothing takes the edge off of a meth high than a good stiff drink.

      Oh and we told those teens that Warty is chasing them…

      1. Oh and we told those teens that Warty is chasing them…

        I laughed.

        1. You’re laughing now but what if it was your ass on the line?

          1. From a hunting Warty? I’d be fleeing as fast as I could.

    2. No, absolutely not. He’s much more useful alive.

  8. You know how utterly screwed up our system is when we even have “healthcare economists”. Healthcare economy works the same as all other “economies”, or perhaps I should just say, Healthcare Economics are just plain economics.

    If the government restricts the supply, and creates policies which hide the costs of healthcare to the consumer, costs and prices will skyrocket.

    I don’t need an MIT “healthcare economist” to create a system where this won’t be true.

    1. Healthcare economics is unique in the respect that you have no pricing signals.

      Yay for government.

  9. How many lying, thieving brothers that eventually tell the truth screwing themselves does Hans have? Can’t we get John McClane to throw this sumbitch out a window?

    It’s Christmas, Theo. It is the time of miracles.

  10. Now waiting for Darryl Issa to subpoena Peter Suderman for

    All documents and communications to or from any federal, state, or local government employee,

    All documents and communications referring or relating to funding, for research or otherwise, from any federal, state, or local government agency, and

    All documents and communications referring or relating to work product produced to any federal, state, or local government agency, for any purpose.

    Aren’t libertarians supposed to be against obtrusive government? Or was that last week?

    1. Federal government obtruding into itself is perfectly fine. The three branches working in opposition to each other is the essence of our original system of government. Go look up “checks and balances”.

    2. Wow, that’s stupid even by troll standards.

    3. Libertarians: now against government oversight, according to Anal Vanneman.

      Shorter version: derp

    4. Obviously, you’ve never responded to a government RFQ.

    5. Wow Anal, this might be the dumbest post since 8%. I hope your proud of yourself.

      1. * You’re

        Probably not a good idea to call someone dumb in a comment with grammatical errors…

        /breaks keyboard in a fit of rage.

    6. So Anal really believes that Congress inquiring into federal and state contracting is a violation of limited government principles?

      Whew.

      1. I’m constantly amazed how someone so dense can get so many hat tips.

        1. He sucks a lot of top dick.

    7. You spelled your first name wrong, *again* Vanneman!

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  12. #1 seems ridiculously overbroad to me, but I guess since Gruber has been declared a libertarian unperson, who cares about the fourth ammendment.

    1. Also, while #2 and #3 seem fine in so far as Congress is looking into federal work, what basis does Congress have to be sticking its nose into state or local government contracting?

      1. Every business; for example, if Gruber was promoting mandates at a federal level that would increase his income on state contracts, it’s a pretty straightforward case of corruption.

        Additionally, if he failed to disclose those state contracts as required by federal rules, they can get him for defrauding the federal government.

        1. And the probable cause for either of those allegations is?

          This is a fishing expedition, and if it was anyone else, people here would rightly be screaming bloody murder about it. But because they don’t like Gruber’s politics, all the phonies here are cheering the state using the subpoena process to harass political opponents.

          1. Your employer gets to ask you what you’re doing.

            1. They get asked to what I’m doing AT WORK. As I said, them looking into what he did as a contractor or fine. What’s not fine is demanding information on any communications he’s had with the government on matters unrelated to his work, or for other work he may have done for state or local governments.

              The fact Gruber is a federal contractor doesn’t give Issa the right to, for example, start digging into any complaints he may have had with the local zoning board.

          2. And the probable cause for either of those allegations is?

            They don’t need probable cause. The Congress gets to audit this shit.

            The guy helped craft federal regulations that essentially amounted to a takeover of an entire industry, complete with mandates on the states, then turned around and collected fees from the states on how to implement those mandates.

            This is pretty garden variety corruption; it’s been around since Geroge Washington’s time, and I am baffled why you are so overwrought over it.

            Methinks your claims about people not crying bloody murder only because we don’t like his politics is more a projection of your crying bloody murder because you *like* his politics than our actual feelings.

            My personal feeling; working for the feds is like working for Vlad the Impaler, disreputable, sleazy, and if the baron turns and sticks *you* on a stake because he turned on you, it sucks to be you but I ain’t going to fash myself over it.

            1. They don’t need probable cause.

              Sure they do. Congress can’t demand people turn over any information they want just because Congress is nosy about it.

    2. If the subpoena is overbroad, he can move to have it quashed.

      And he was a libertarian unperson the moment he started whoring himself out to produce propaganda on behalf of the Democratic party pushing policies to further impoverish the working poor.

      1. So people only have rights in so far as they agree with you politically. If they advocate for something or someone you disagree with, then feel free to violate their rights however you like.

        1. A congressional subpoena of a federal contractor’s papers related to his employment as a federal contractor is not a violation of his rights stormy.

          1. Yes, but this goes far beyond papers related to his employment as a federal contractor. It’s a fishing expedition.

            1. You make it sound like they’re looking for something that has nothing to do with Gruber’s contributions to the ACA

              Do you suspect they might be trying to out him as a communist mole?

              1. I think, like most prosecuters, they’re trying to get as much information as they can possibly get, knowing that if they start with a big enough pile, they’ll eventually find some law somewhere that he broke.

                And while I admit I get a certain amount of sadistic pleasure from seeing Gruber raked over the coals given the condescending videos, this is not something I would support in other cases, and it’s not something that should be supported here, even if the victim is unsympathetic.

                1. Your claim of “too wide” a net seems a little contrived =

                  They could make the same request of ME, and it would fit in an envelope.

                  If what they are asking for is ‘a lot of stuff’ from Gruber, its because he did a lot of work related to the federal ACA and its implementation for individual states. That’s a lot of different places where the ‘same thing’ is being done.

                  If you could point out that these requests would ‘obviously’ expose him to potential unforeseen liability in a variety of areas, that would bolster your case. Given that his work for federal, state government was all ACA-related, its hard to make that argument.

                  Unless you’re suggesting he also an undercover CIA agent?

    3. Yo, Stormy Dragon! Congrats on being able to read! And reason!

      1. Vanneman! You’re still misspelling your first name!

        1. I took a shit on Vanneman’s couch once.

  13. “House Oversight Committee Subpoenas Obamacare Work and Contract Details”

    Well that explains some confusion from last time.

    Less clear is why they’d need to ask *Gruber* (they’re subpoenaing *him*, right?) rather than simply request the stuff as part of their investigation from the relevant agencies, but i suppose the idea is to put the onus on the individual rather than other bureaucrats because then the threat of contempt is more direct, immediate, and personal?

    I continue to be amazed at how retarded these senate “investigations” are when they have people like senior IRS officials step up and testify things like, ‘Uh, ’email *backup system*’? You know, i’m no technical expert, so you might want to ask some other people about that… i’m not sure we have one of those, and if we do, well… probably going to take a few years to find the button to press… also, I’m told that parts of it may be lost, broken, missing… budget cuts you see….’

    I get the feeling if i maintained that level of intractable non-compliance and faux-ignorance with authorities that I’d be crucified on the spot; which is maybe (again) the reason for trying to get the documents from Gruber = other agencies will just stall them to death and ‘lose’ stuff…because FYTW etc.

  14. Any chance this document request will tell when comrade Oblamo was made aware that the planned mandated coverage would eliminate 96% of the plans people had, at the time?

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