Apparently, the Obama folks are following the Bush precedent, paying Johathan Gruber, a health care economist, under the table -- at least he seems to have done nothing to let it be known -- to influence the health care debate
I posted two brief mentions about Jonathan Gruber and health care, without realizing that he had a $392,600 contract with Health and Human Services that had not yet been made public.
First, last November, I posted the following comment in response to a New York Times article about Health Care, alluding to single payer being "off the table.":
Jonathan Gruber is a health economist from MIT -- an expert, no doubt. David Leonhardt quotes his favorable comment on the Senate health care bill: “I can’t think of a thing to try that they didn’t try.”
Leonhardt, apparently, never bothered to ask him about single payer, which was off the table.
A year before, prior to the contract, I posted:
I’m just looking over the August NBER digest. It covers five NBER articles, of which three may be mildly interesting. The first has the scary title, Public Insurance Expansions Crowd Out Private Health Insurance by Jonathan Gruber and Kosali Simon. We learn that: For every 100 children who are enrolled in public insurance, 60 children lose private insurance.” Thank God that George Bush had the courage to stand up to the radicals and threatened to veto an expansion of child health coverage. Otherwise, they might lose their private insurance.
Jane Hamsher has a piece showing how effectively the White House and the Democrats use Gruber's expertise to support their own mangling of health care reform.
Glenn Greenwald has a piece, the second part of which compares this arrangement to what Bush did with Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher and the CNN generals.