Jonathan Gruber

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Jonathan Gruber was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy in the U.S. Treasury Department, 1997-1998, during the Bill Clinton presidency. According to his website he is "a Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the Director of the Health Care Program [1] at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a Research Associate[2] [3] He is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health Economics. ... During the 1997-1998 academic year, Dr. Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. He was a key architect of Massachusetts’ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. In that year, he was named the 19th most powerful person in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine. During the 2008 he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama Presidential campaigns and was called by the Washington Post, 'possibly the [Democratic] party's most influential health-care expert.'"[4]

Trudy Lieberman writes in CJR on January 28, 2010, "[T]he media relies way too much on the same sources, who utter the same thing again and again to different news outlets. The problem with this, of course, is that a particular view of the world spreads widely, perhaps reinforcing that view as the correct one—which it may or may not be, depending on the facts and on which side of the river you call home. (Jonathan) Gruber has been the cheerleader-in-chief for the Massachusetts health care plan, which is the model for federal reform. He sits on the board of the Connector, the state’s policy brokerage service, and thus has something of a vested interest in positively spinning the reform efforts there. Last year on the PBS NewsHour, he told how premiums for individuals buying their own coverage in Massachusetts had dropped dramatically. But he didn’t mention how premiums for workers in small businesses had risen to sky-high levels in order to make that possible." [5]


Gruber has served as a plaintiff's expert in cases against the tobacco industry.[6][7]

2010 Non-Disclosure of HHS Funding and Being a Paid Consultant to Obama Administration

On January 7, 2010, a report by Marcy Wheeler on the Firedoglake blogsite[8] exposed Gruber's failure to reveal a $392,600.00 contract he received in June, 2009, from the Department of Health and Human Services.[9] The FDL article forced the New York Times to issue this correction: "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. ... Had editors been aware of Professor Gruber’s government ties, the Op-Ed page would have insisted on disclosure or not published his article." [10] FireDogLake is continuing to investigate [11] hundreds of thousands of dollars of government funding to Gruber and has launched an online campaign [12] around the issue. On January 13, 2010, FDL's Jane Hamsher analyzed "How the White House Used Jonathan Gruber’s Work to Orchestrate the Appearance of Broad Consensus" for it's health care reform bill. [13] On January 17, 2010, Marcy Wheeler responded to the previous ten days of controversy that her original article spawned, with a blog titled "I Don’t Want Apologies. I Want Independent Analysis." [14]

Contact Info for John Gruber

  • Phone: (617) 253-8892
  • Email: gruberj AT

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. NBER Health Care Program
  2. NBER Biographical Information, accessed 1/11/2010
  3. NBER Publications by Jonathan Gruber.
  4. Jonathan Gruber: Short Biography", MIT Department of Economics website, accessed January 2010.
  5. Trudy Lieberman, A Tale of Two Jonathans, CJR January 28, 2010.
  6. Deposition of JONATHAN H. GRUBER, Ph.D., September 11, 2003, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. PHILIP MORRIS USA INC. Deposition. September 11, 2003. 298 pp. DATTA collection. Bates No. GRUBERJ091103
  7. Deposition of JONATHAN H. GRUBER, Ph.D., April 22, 2002, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. PHILIP MORRIS USA INC. Deposition. 290pp. April 22, 2002. Bates No. GRUBERJ042202 (DATTA collection)
  8. Marcy Wheeler, "Jonathan Gruber Failed to Disclose His $392,600 Contracts with HHS (Updated)", FireDogLake, January 7, 2010.
  9. Technical Assistance in Evaluating Options for National Healthcare Reform, Department of Health and Human Services, June 19, 2009
  10. Editor, New York Times, Correction to 'A Loop Hole Worth Closing, New York Times, January 10, 2010
  11. "Ongoing Analysis of Grants to Jonathan Gruber", FireDogLake, accessed January 11, 20110.
  12. "Sign our petition to President Obama: Come Clean on "Buy an Economist" Scandal", Firedoglake, January 10, 2010.
  13. Jane Hamsher, How the White House Used Jonathan Gruber’s Work to Orchestrate the Appearance of Broad Consensus, January13, 2010.
  14. Marcy Wheeleler, I Don’t Want Apologies. I Want Independent Analysis, Firedoglake, January 17, 2010.

External resources

External articles

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