WASHINGTON – Following an embarrassing string of missteps, Vermont has stopped paying controversial economist Jonathan Gruber for his work on the Affordable Care Act.
A spokesman for Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said Wednesday that the state would no longer pay the ObamaCare architect.
“As the Governor and I have said, the comments by Mr. Gruber are offensive, inappropriate and do not reflect the thinking of this administration or how we do things in Vermont,” Lawrence Miller, said Wednesday in a statement. “As we have also said, we need solid economic modeling in order to move forward with health care reform.”
Miller continued that he told Gruber, “that I expect his team to complete the work that we need to provide the legislature and Vermonters with a public health care financing plan. I’ve informed Mr. McGruber that we will not be paying him any further for his part in completing that work.”
Gruber’s original contract with the state was worth more than $400,000. He’s already been paid $160,000.
The news about Gruber was made public at an informational session for Vermont’s legislators.
Last week, the state’s Senate Minority Leader, Joe Benning, called on Shumlin to terminate Gruber’s contract following the release of videos showing the MIT professor intentionally deceived the public in drafting the Affordable Care Act.
“I join with my Senate colleague, Sen. Kevin Mullin, in urging the governor to terminate his contract,” Benning, R-Caledonia, told Vermont Watchdog. “If the powers that be attempted to trick them like that, then those people should be immediately removed from positions of authority, be they elected officials or hired contractors.”
Benning is the second member of the Vermont Senate to call for Gruber’s termination. Last week, Mullin, R-Rutland, a member of the Health Care Oversight Committee, told Vermont Watchdog the governor should “terminate his contract immediately.”
Over the weekend, Lawrence Miller, chief of health care reform for the Shumlin administration, announced Gruber would continue to serve as financing consultant for single-payer health care.
According to the contract obtained from the Agency of Administration, Vermont was paying Gruber $400,000 for “policy expertise, research, and economic modeling related to the implementation of Green Mountain Care.” Gruber’s work will be presented to the Legislature on Jan. 15.