So Much (Again) For Transparency

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 9, 2010

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Meet Jonathan Gruber:

Jonathan Gruber, a well-known health economist at MIT and a member of the board that oversees the landmark Massachusetts health care law, is being paid nearly $400,000 by the Obama administration to provide technical assistance on legislation he has championed in media interviews.

Gruber has not disclosed the details of his relationship with the administration in many instances, and his failure to do so became the talk of Washington health care and media circles yesterday, after news of his two contracts with the US Department of Health and Human Services surfaced on the DailyKos blog and the website Politico.

The administration is paying Gruber $392,600 to analyze the costs and effects of various health care overhaul proposals.

The economist disclosed in an interview with the Globe last June that he had a contract to provide technical assistance to the Obama administration and that he was providing technical help to the two Senate committees working on health care and to House Democrats constructing the legislation. The newspaper reported that he was advising the administration and Congress but did not report whether or how much he was paid.

Gruber wrote an oped piece last month in The Washington Post about a proposed tax on high-cost health insurance plans and was quoted in November in an online Atlantic Monthly article praising the Senate bill’s efforts to contain health care costs. In neither case did he disclose his financial relationship with the administration. He did, however, mention his paid work for the administration in a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

It is one thing for Gruber to be compensated for the work that he did for the Obama Administration. No one should begrudge him his pay. It is quite another for him not to disclose it. More from McArdle.

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