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VT's Shumlin hires Jonathon Gruber to vet single payer funding proposals, for $400K

VT Digger:

Vermont has hired a policy architect of the Affordable Care Act as an economic consultant to help the Shumlin administration vet different single-payer financing scenarios.

Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help Shumlin’s health care reform team understand how different tax structures will impact subsets of the population as they design a proposal to pay for a planned universal health care program.

Gruber is a veteran of health care economics and national health policy having served as technical adviser to the Obama administration and Congress as they designed the Affordable Care Act.

The contract is worth $400,000 and is expected to solidify the administration’s pitch to lawmakers when it presents its proposal to lawmakers in January.

The Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office recently signed its own more limited contract for economic simulations with Rand Corp.

I can't help seeing this as bad news.

Gruber, besides being the architect of the union-fucking "Cadillac Tax", is a shill for the insurance companies, and (what amounts to the same thing) was present for the White House rebranding of RomneyCare into ObamaCare. He's also prone to failure to disclose potential conflicts of interest, a conflict so egregious that even then Obot-loyalist Lord Kos permitted a front-pager to call it out.

All in all, I guess that makes Gruber the ideal candidate!

If you're a Democrat who wants to put single payer back in its box, Gruber is the hired gun for you. Although, to be fair, pigs could fly.

NOTE If you want to see Gruber handwaving splendidly on what "affordable" means, see Hipparchia's post here.

UPDATE The Canadian Press actually snagged an interview with Gruber:

"[GRUBER:] That is the big question for this system. It's to what extent will it be Canadian-style, (as in) you have to be in the system."

You have to be "in the system" because the system is -- wait for it! -- single payer!

"What's interesting is Canada is sort of a very extreme version of single-payer...

Those Canadians! So extreme! They're practically Communists!

"[GRUBER:] There's really not much opportunity for supplementation of the government package. I mean, you can add dental and vision and stuff but in most other countries there's more, if you will, private outs from the system. Private doctors, things like that...

Again. That's because it's -- wait for it! -- single payer! (However, I like that neologism, "supplementation." It sounds so innocuous! I'm going to watch for it to come up again, like a bad penny.)

"[GRUBER:] "I think it'll differ from Canada in a number of ways."

Heaven forfend we should simply do what works! And I like this part too:

"[GRUBER:] To be honest, I haven't thought a whole lot about single-payer in the U.S., because it's been politically impossible to do at the national level."

Heaven forfend that a tenured professor at a world-class, prestigious institution like MIT should seek to change what's politically possible, rather simply collect fat consulting checks!

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mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

Good point about his not wanting to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs..

It seems, neither do Democrats.. as in stealing desperate Americans votes with lies.

Has Grubin ever said anything at all about GATS, TTIP,TiSA,TPP having a itsy-bitsy little conflict with new public services, like, they BAN them? (Shush!)

I wouldn't expect him to. Seems like Shumlin and perhaps other Republicans want to get in on the decades of vote attracting magic of keeping the system dysfunctional while hinting about single payer while actually using sneaky little known free trade agreements like GATS to ban it.

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

me feel better and good bye Vermont single source.

(Shumlin is a Democrat, by the way.)

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

I wonder where it was that I saw that. Well, maybe there is some hope for him figuring this out. I had assumed he was being intentionally ignorant as part of a disinformation campaign. Maybe he's just ignorant. Whole countries have been. So its not so surprising.

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

I am not so good at getting this stuff across to these people, perhaps because I believe its really, really important. (It is!)

You can just call them up and casually ask them about GATS and the other FTAs being potential show stoppers. Costing each American an extra quarter million dollars and all, ya know.

See what happens! Get a record of it so they can't claim they were never told about it. Thats the key.

Submitted by lambert on

Until there is.

"It's impossible!" Until it isn't.

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

See !! That is rock solid proof that what I've been trying to tell you about how the US healthcare spin army is trying to - in as low-key a way as possible, make people think that multi payer (which can't work to save money, its actually MORE EXPENSIVE) is the same or similar as real single payer ...

He just gave it away right there! SINGLE payer is not an extreme form of fake "single" payer, its SINGLE PAYER that ACTUALLY WORKS Gruber you idiot.

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

That is such a big mistake, I wonder where I heard that.

Perhaps its possible to get them to engage on the free trade agreements using the fact that they promised states this exemption.

That exemption is no good if it core functionality is preempted by free trade agreements so odious that the American people have to be kept in the dark and lied to about them.

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

That seems to be very common. South Africa was ignorant of the WTO-GATS commitments made by the apartheid regime which bound them irreversibly, making the health care options available to them much more expensive.

Slovakia was ignorant that the FTA signed years earlier irreversibly bound them to the for profit health care model requiring that the health insurer who occupied just a portion of the market be compensated a huge amount of money, overruling the traditional situation where countries could determine their key policy through elections.

It strikes me as so alien that the world can hold up democracy as such a good thing for so long and indeed it is, but then throw it away without so much as an honest public discussion.