January 12, 2010
For almost the entirety of the health care debate, the Obama Administration has relied on economist Jonathan Gruber to make the public case for its idea of reform – even the most unpopular parts. But as Firedoglake revealed on Friday, the Obama Administration has failed to disclose that it paid the same economist more than $780,000.
Jonathan Gruber’s work has been cited by the White House, Members of Congress, and countless media outlets, but not once did the Obama Administration disclose it was paying him more than $780,000 in tax dollars. This is a huge ethical violation that undermines the entirety of health care reform.
Sign our petition to President Obama: come clean on Jonathan Gruber and anyone else receiving public money to push health care reform.
Once we broke this scandal, The New York Times, Washington Post, Time Magazine , and other publications all said they should have disclosed Gruber’s lucrative contracts if they were aware of the conflict of interest. Dozens of Members of Congress cited Gruber’s work in their floor speeches. The White House pushed Gruber hundreds of times to the press and on its website.
While Gruber’s ethical lapses are his own personal and professional issue, the true problem here is that the White House used Gruber and his research as a seemingly unbiased source in support of its unpopular reforms.
When Obama wanted to tax middle class health care plans, Gruber defends the tax. When Obama to force people to buy private insurance, Gruber defends individual mandate. When Obama does not want public option, Gruber says a public option is not important. When Obama needs to pretend the bill has cost controls, Gruber says it has the greatest cost controls ever.
It is simply not right for the White House to cite Gruber’s analysis to illustrate the benefits of the bill they support without disclosing that Gruber is on the government payroll. A biased insider can’t be an unbiased outside observer. But that’s exactly the approach of the Obama Administration, to the tune of $780,000 in tax dollars.
The Obama Administation’s $780,000 “buy-an-economist” scandal threatens to shake the foundation of health care reform. We need to get to the bottom of this.
Sign our petition to Obama: come clean on tax dollars used to pay any other undisclosed contracts.
We need to do health care reform right. But not telling the truth about reform won’t help anyone.
Thanks so much for your support.