MIT economist Jonathan Gruber and his firm have received millions of dollars in federal and state contracts, Fox News
His firm's Gruber Microsimulation Model
allows the government to estimate the costs associated with health-related programs, including the Affordable Care Act.
Gruber has a lucrative connection with the Department of Health and Human Services. A 2009 contract worth $95,000 has him providing "technical memoranda on the estimated changes in health insurance coverage and associated costs" of health reform. HHS later added $297,600 to that contract, Fox said its review of federal and state websites, and published reports, showed.
Another contract with HHS has brought Gruber and his firm some $2 million in business.
He also has contracts with the National Institutes of Health for $2.05 million and the Department of Justice for about $1.74 million. The DOJ asked his firm to come up with incentives for tobacco companies not to target teen smokers.
He also has been paid $103,500 by the State Department to serve as an expert witness in a NAFTA trade dispute, Fox reported.
Gruber also does computer modeling for eight or so state governments for a hefty fee, The Washington Post
reported. Fox found evidence of his and his firm's work for as many as 15 states, with some contracts ranging from $330,000 to more than $480,000.
Republicans have complained that Gruber has not been forthright in revealing his contracts when he testifies before Congress.
"This is not saying the amount of money he made was wrong," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. "But when he's testifying before Congress, there ought to be full disclosure of this so that you know if he's got a non-biased opinion – or not," Fox News reported.
"I think he's unusual in terms of the scale and scope of it. There are not a lot of individual university economists who get this level of funding from federal and state governments," said Tom Shoop of Government Executive
, according to Fox News.
The highly-specialized methodology Gruber's firm has perfected in formulating cost estimates is comparable to the model the Congressional Budget Office
and other federal agencies use. Access to Gruber's model allows White House policymakers to forecast how CBO is likely to score proposed legislation, the Post reported.
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