Tags: Jonathan Gruber | fired | Charlie Baker | Massachusetts

Mass. Gov. Baker Boots Jonathan Gruber from Health Board

Image: Mass. Gov. Baker Boots Jonathan Gruber from Health Board
Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass., left, and Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Jonathan Gruber. (Brian Snyder/Reuters/Landov; Dominick Reuter/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 11:47 AM

Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor Jonathan Gruber, who once famously said Obamacare passed because of intentionally deceitful marketing and the "stupidity of the American voter," has been fired from the state's Health Connector board by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

But Gruber, who apologized profusely for his remarks in a four-hour hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in December, still insists that the firing, which also involved the removal of three other board members, had nothing to do with him personally, the Boston Globe reports.

"All that was communicated to me is that the governor would like to have his own set of people on the Connector. It's not about me or any of the individuals," Gruber told the Globe.

However, as The Hill noted, Massachusetts Republicans have been pressing for Gruber's removal since videos of him making the disparaging comments about American voters surfaced last year.

Gruber, appointed to the board by former Gov. Mitt Romney and reappointed by former Gov. Deval Patrick, served for nine years and commented to the Globe: "It's been an incredible experience. It's been a great run."

Baker,  in a letter demanding the resignations, thanked Gruber and the others "for agreeing to resign from that board," the Globe reported.

"As with all incoming administrations, I am establishing a new leadership team and I have instructed those individuals to take a fresh look at the Connector and to implement ideas to improve the operation of that important state entity," Baker wrote.

Also removed from membership on the board, which oversees the agency that enables Massachusetts' state and federal health insurance programs, were John M. Bertko, chief actuary for California's insurance marketplace; George W. Gonser of Spring Insurance Group; and Rick Jakious of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, an advocacy group, the Globe said.

Gruber, who was paid $400,000 for his consultant work on Obamacare, recently came under fire again when Vermont auditors indicated he may have overbilled the state on his $400,000 contract for other consulting work, The Hill reported.

"One can certainly find fault with Dr. Gruber's bookkeeping and his inattention to administrative details," the state auditor wrote, The Hill reported.

Gruber said in videos revealed last year that Obamacare was intentionally constructed in a "tortured way," to hide the fact that it is a system in which "healthy people pay in and sick people get money," CBS Boston, which broke the news of Gruber's firing, reported.

After Gruber's apology in front of the congressional committee, in which he admitted his comments were "glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting," the Obama administration attempted to distance itself from him, with Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Department of Health and Human Services secretary, saying: "I was extremely offended by his comments.

"As a public servant for many years,  I have worked on these issues, and I have complete confidence in the American people," Burwell said, The Hill reported.

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Jonathan Gruber has been fired from the state's Health Connector board by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.
Jonathan Gruber, fired, Charlie Baker, Massachusetts
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2015-47-26
Thursday, 26 Feb 2015 11:47 AM
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