MONTPELIER, Vt. — The state attorney general’s office has settled a claim against an economist accused of overbilling Vermont while evaluating its proposed single-payer health care system.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber was hired as a consultant in 2014.
He submitted two invoices for $100,000 in September and October 2014 for his and his research assistant’s work for that time, The Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/2wwDdop) reported. The state paid the bills but kept $40,000 to be paid when the work was finished.
State officials said they later discovered that Gruber’s invoices for himself and his research assistants were inaccurate.
Gruber came under fire when a video surfaced in November 2014 where he said the Affordable Care Act passed because of “the stupidity of the American voter.” Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin criticized the comments, and the state altered Gruber’s contact so only his research assistants would be paid for the remaining work.
Gruber filed a claim after that.
As part of the settlement, he has agreed to drop the claims the state owes him $40,000 that was retained under his contract and $50,000 for his assistant’s work. Vermont has agreed to not go forward with its claims under the Vermont Civil False Claims Act.
According to the settlement, Gruber denies he violated the Vermont False Claims Act.
The settlement was signed by Gruber on May 10 and two Vermont assistant attorneys general on June 8.
“After a thorough investigation, our office, the attorney general’s office, was able to negotiate a resolution with terms that were fair to all parties involved so we are pleased that this matter has been able to be resolved and it allows the state to move forward with its other business,” said Deputy Attorney General Joshua Diamond Wednesday.
Gruber said by email that he had no comment.