Friday, January 08, 2010

Jonathan Gruber: The Latest Health Reform Money Man

Add health economist John Gruber to the list of profiteers pushing Obama health reform. Gruber joins Uwe Reinhardt, Nancy-Ann DeParle, Gail Wilensky, and Tom Scully.

Gruber failed to disclose $392,000 in sole source contracts with Health & Human Services to consult on President Obama's health reform proposals. Very few people disclose conflicts of interest today. An indignant Gruber defended his non-communicative stance on the issue:

Gruber told POLITICO that he has told reporters of the contract "whenever they asked."

That's transparency we can believe in? Hardly. Dr. Gruber failed to disclose the financial relationship. What about the Obama team? OMB Director Peter Orzag wrote on his White House blog:

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber — who calls himself "sort of a known skeptic on this stuff" — says, "Everything is in here....I can't think of anything I'd do that they are not doing in the bill."

No mention of the $392,000 contracts? One might expect the head of OMB to know of the relationship and disclose it.

It resurfaces the same sinking feeling as hearing White House Health Czar refer to big pharma as "our industry."

(Thanks to Economic Policy Journal)

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