Jonathan Gruber, the MIT health economist known as one of the architects of Obamacare, is under fire in Vermont after the state’s auditor found inconsistencies in invoices he submitted for work on the state’s health care model.
Gruber’s contract was put on hold in November after numerous videos emerged in which he was caught bragging that Obamacare was passed due to a lack of transparency, and sold on false promises made to the American public, which he called “stupid.”
Gruber signed a $400,000 contract with Vermont last July to implement a proprietary economic model to help create a single-payer health care system. Gruber was hired by the Obama administration as a consultant to do similar work.
After the videos emerged, state lawmakers raised questions over Gruber’s contract and prompted state auditor Doug Hoffer to review it.
In a report released Monday, Hoffer wrote that the state agency working with Gruber “failed to exercise due diligence,” the Burlington Free Press reported.
Hoffer noted two invoices Gruber submitted in September and October, in which the economist claimed to have worked 100 hours at a rate of $500 per hour while his research assistants worked for 500 hours at a rate of $100 per hour.
But only one research assistant worked on the project, Hoffer reported, making it “unlikely” that Gruber’s invoice was accurate.
“The evidence suggests that Dr. Gruber overstated the hours worked by the RA and that the Agency of Administration ignored the obvious signs that something was amiss,” Hoffer wrote. “Even if the State was not overly concerned about the first invoice, Ms. Lunge and Mr. Costa should certainly have been alarmed by the second. But except for one brief e-mail exchange, there is no evidence that they were troubled, nor did they communicate any concern to Dr. Gruber.” (RELATED: Obamacare Architect: Lack Of Transparency Was Key Because ‘Stupidity Of The American Voter’ Would Have Killed Obamacare)
Gruber was paid $280,000 of the amount of the contract. He agreed to forego the rest.
Administration Secretary Justin Johnson said that Gruber’s invoices “could have been more specific,” but denied that any impropriety occurred.
“I think the strict terms of the contract were met,” Johnson told the Burlington Free Press. “But that doesn’t necessarily make anyone feel any better about how little detail there was in the invoices.”
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