FOXNews.com - Economist Was Under Contract With HHS While Touting Health Reform Bill
Apparently the guy disclosed his relationship in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, provided that you followed a link, but failed to disclose that relationship while publishing op-eds in the NYT and Washington Post.MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the leading academic defenders of health care reform, is taking heat for failing to disclose consistently that he was under contract with the Department of Health and Human Services while he was touting the Democrats' health proposals in the media.
Gruber, according to federal government documents, is under a $297,600 contract until next month to provide "technical assistance" in evaluating health care reform proposals. He was under a $95,000 HHS contract before that.
But while he was being paid to provide his services to HHS, he was also fending off health care reform critics in the media. Gruber was one of the prominent analysts to rebut an insurance industry report from PricewaterhouseCoopers in October saying premiums would shoot up if a health care bill passes. And he has recently written columns defending specific provisions in the House and Senate bills, particularly the "Cadillac tax" on high-cost insurance plans.
The NYT is pissed:
Times, Brownstein consider Gruber contract - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com
I would be pretty pissed too. The first thing I do when I read an op-ed is scroll to the end and look at the person's affiliation. If they're purportedly independent, I give it far more weight than if they're associated with a candidate or advocacy group.The fallout from the disclosure that the economist Jonathan Gruber was a paid consultant to the Obama administration deepened today, with the New York Times suggesting that Gruber had been "obligated" to tell the paper of the relationship for a July, 12 op-ed, and did not:
...On July 12, the Op-Ed page published an article by Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at M.I.T., on health insurance and taxation. On Friday, Professor Gruber confirmed reports that he is a paid consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services, and that his contract was in effect when he published his article. The article did not disclose this relationship to readers.
Like other writers for the Op-Ed page, Professor Gruber signed a contract that obligated him to tell editors of such a relationship. Had editors been aware of Professor Gruberís government ties, the Op-Ed page would have insisted on disclosure or not published his article.
The situation is complicated, but it's worth exploring because Gruber isn't just another academic being quoted. He was, at crucial times in the debate, the apparently independent voice vouching for the administration's credibility.