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