By Morgan True, VTDigger.org
Health care economist Jonathan Gruber has agreed to forgo roughly $120,000 in compensation from the state.
Lawrence Miller, chief of health care reform, said on Wednesday, Nov. 19, that Gruber’s comments denigrating the public and suggesting that passage of the Affordable Care Act relied on deception has damaged his credibility in Vermont. Gruber was hired to create economic models for single-payer financing options.
Miller spoke with Gruber this week, whom he described as “profoundly apologetic,” to ask that he donate his time to complete the work for Vermont.
Gruber said in an email that he had no comment on the agreement. Miller said he didn’t seek the pay cut to appease Republican lawmakers, who have called for the dismissal of the MIT economist.
“His comments were equal opportunity offenders,” Miller said.
Gruber’s $400,000 contract with the state runs through Feb. 15. It contains an additional $50,000 for support work from Moody’s Analytics, which the state will pay.
Gruber has been paid $160,000 so far, which Miller said is split roughly 50-50 between Gruber and his team of research associates. Gruber agreed to let the state keep his half, Miller said.
Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, was among the Republicans calling for Gruber to be fired, but said Wednesday he is pleased with Miller’s efforts.
“It’s the best outcome Lawrence Miller could have negotiated at this time,” Mullin said. But he added that Gruber’s work is compromised and must be vetted by other economists working for the Legislature and the administration.