One of the chief architects to former President Obama's infamous "Obamacare" plan was recently fired and forced to settle over a fraud charge that Vermont's Attorney General TJ Donovan charged him with. Jonathan Gruber played an integral part in the formation of the controversial "Obamacare" and he was advising the state of a now-abandoned single-payer insurance scheme.
Gruber was hired as an economic consultant to asses, examine, and provide his educated guidance for the scheme to implement a single-payer healthcare system across Vermont.
That single-payer healthcare insurance system was called Green Mountain Care and was initially championed by the former governor Pete Shumlin. Shumlin would eventually nix the system as he concluded that a government-funded health care and insurance act would be too costly for Vermont's citizens.
It is reported that Gruber was supposed to submit a monthly report outlining the work in detail that he did for the state and explain the attached billing. The AG's office said that Gruber failed to do that at least two times, deeming them to be false and thereby illegal under the states "Civil False Claims Act".
Jonathan Gruber was in a binding contract with the state to the tune of $450,000.
Gruber, who is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology alum and economist has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. With that said, he still agreed to a settlement which would make this go away, forfeiting the remaining $90,000 due to him under the contract.
The attorney general's investigation began after it received a report from State Auditor Doug Hoffer.
To be more detailed about what Gruber is accused of, the AG said that Gruber failed to provide invoices with the correct number of billable hours and that his research assistant was the one who actually did the work. Also, the math just did not add up. According to the numbers in the invoice, Gruber's assistant would have had to work 12-16 hours a day to cover what Vermont was invoiced for.
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This is not the first time that Jonathan Gruber has been in hot water. In 2014 he was in the spotlight for comments that he made referring to citizens and how 'the stupidity of the American vote" helped Congress pass Obamacare. As you can imagine, that did not go over so well for him and his image.
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass,” Gruber said during one health care conference.
At another event, Gruber admitted that the Obama administration pushed through the so-called Cadillac tax - a tax on certain premium health care plans - “by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people, when we know it’s a tax on people who hold these insurance plans.”
When then president Barack Obama was questions about Gruber and his comments, he quickly distanced himself by saying that he was merely an adviser who never really worked on his staff. That's an interesting statement as records show Gruber was paid $400,000 by the government to assist the Department of Health and Human Services come up with viable healthcare costs and valuations.
Gruber, at one time, was also a key player in helping to form the healthcare plan in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney was governor. The plan is sometimes referred to as 'Romneycare'.
Just to ensure he remains in the mud slinging mill, Gruber on Sunday blamed ump for many of the failures of President Obama's health care law. He elaborated that he believes Trump has undercut the open enrollment program that Obamacare offered and does not honor assurances made by the Obamacare law.
True to form, Gruber had previously admitted that the Obama administration got their Cadillac tax initiative passed by simply mislabeling it. Regarding his fraud case, Vermont said of their decision to settle instead of prosecute the shady doctor that it was done "to avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience and uncertainty of litigation.
Gruber basically blamed the lack of specific knowledge of the situation as his scapegoat for why the illegal invoices were submitted, albeit in his name.