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.