Minnesota State Representative Greg Davids is calling for embattled MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, the “architect” of Obamacare, to return all $329,000 he was paid by the state of Minnesota as a subcontractor on a 2011 contract to analyze the state’s plan to develop its Obamacare health care exchange, MNSure.
On November 21, Davids sent a letter to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson requesting her to investigate Gruber’s work.
“In recent weeks,” Davids wrote, “significant concerns have been raised regarding the contract between the State of Minnesota and Dr. Jonathan Gruber entered into in March 2011. In light of troubling remarks by Dr. Gruber and MNsure, I believe that a review of Dr. Gruber’s work, and payments made to him, is necessary.”
On December 9, Davids sent a second letter to Swanson.
“Earlier today,” Davids wrote, “in testimony before Congressional investigators, Dr. Jonathan Gruber refused to answer questions regarding compensation for his work with state-based insurance exchanges. The evasiveness displayed by Dr. Gruber reinforces my concerns expressed in the previous letter.”
“I implore your office to investigate Dr. Gruber’s work and its relationship to MNsure’s fiscal troubles,” Davids requested again, “and urge you to explore all possible remedies for recovering the taxpayer funds wasted on his report.”
“To date,” Davids told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement on Wednesday, “I have received word via phone call that the Attorney General’s office was working on a response, but nothing in writing yet.”
Davids blasted Gruber’s projections for the state of Minnesota about enrollment for the state’s health care exchange, MNSure, when it launched.
“MNsure, Dr. Gruber and Governor Dayton’s Administration repeatedly guaranteed that the exchange would serve 1.3 million Minnesotans by 2016, including over 600,000 in commercial plans – a financial necessity to avoid a taxpayer bailout,” Davids told Breitbart News.
“Those projections were so far off that it has proved absurd,” Davids said.
“Instead of 500,000 private enrollees by the end of 2015, MNsure has repeatedly lowered Dr. Gruber’s projections and now estimates that fewer than 70,000 will enroll in private plans by the end of next year,” Davids added.
“The error rate for Dr. Gruber’s work is beyond laughable,” Davids stated.
“It is a shame,” Davids continued, “that nearly $600,000 in public funds was used for projections that were inaccurate from the moment MNsure opened. The Dayton Administration has essentially used over $150 million in taxpayer money to build a broken IT system for public health programs.”
Davids, who has served in the Minnesota House of Representatives since 1991, is scheduled to become Chairman of the powerful House Taxes Committee in January.
“There has been little to no transparency in Dr. Gruber’s work with MNsure,” Davids told Breitbart News. “Given that Dr. Gruber missed the deadline to submit his final report by four months – thereby avoiding scrutiny during the legislative process that led to MNsure’s creation – it is sadly unsurprising that he may have failed to live up to other aspects of his taxpayer-funded contract,” Davids concluded.
A Breitbart investigation into the state of Minnesota’s 2011 contract in which Gruber was paid $329,000 as a subcontractor to develop economic projections using his proprietary Gruber Microsimulation Model has uncovered a disturbing pattern of billing practices that indicate a lack of oversight. April Todd-Malmlov, the former executive director of MNSure, the state’s Obamacare health exchange, was the official responsible for that oversight.
Breitbart obtained copies of the Gruber invoices, the contract, and the Gruber subcontract in a public records request filed with the state of Minnesota.
Though the contract, which was signed by former executive director Todd-Malmlov, clearly specifies that all Gruber’s invoices should be itemized in detail, the invoices submitted by Gruber and paid by the state of Minnesota were notably lacking in itemization.
Gruber’s invoices do not specifically tie to deliverables specified in the contract other than to assert vaguely that some of them were delivered. The invoices do not consistently refer to the deliverables specified in the contract, nor, with the exception of the final report, do they specify the dates the deliverables were completed, to whom they were delivered in the state of Minnesota, nor whether they were formally accepted by specific bureaucrats in the state of Minnesota.
Despite these shortcomings, former executive director Todd-Malmov authorized all of Gruber’s interim payments as well as his final payment.
Gruber delivered two final reports, one in 2012 and one in 2013, each about 60 pages long. Todd-Malmlov formally certified her acceptance of both these reports.
But records obtained by Breitbart News from the state of Minnesota indicate there is no auditable trail for the work product that resulted in those final reports.
In addition, Gruber’s invoices do not track specifically to the deliverables identified in Exhibit B of the contract. The deliverables in that exhibit are labeled Deliverable A, Deliverable B, Deliverable C, and Deliverable D. None of Gruber’s invoices refer to Deliverable A, Deliverable B, Deliverable C, or Deliverable D.
The Gruber invoice that potentially aligns with Deliverable B is cryptic at best in describing what was delivered. The Gruber invoice that potentially aligns with Deliverable C actually does not match what is specified as Deliverable C in the contract. Only the final Gruber invoice–which refers to the final report referenced in Deliverable D– tracks with any degree of specificity to the contract.