Obamacare 'architect' settles suit over fraud allegations

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who has been dubbed the architect of Obamacare, has settled a lawsuit accusing him of filing fraudulent claims for government payments.

According to the settlement agreement, Gruber’s allegedly fraudulent claims date back to 2014, when the economics professor was hired by the State of Vermont to conduct research and economic modeling “relating to the implementation of Vermont’s single-payer healthcare system.”

Gruber rose to notoriety in late 2014 when video footage surfaced showing him admitting that the Affordable Care Act was passed under false pretenses, even boasting that “the stupidity of the American voter” made the grand deception possible.

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The settlement notes that in two of the submitted invoices, Gruber documented that his “research assistants” worked for 500 hours at a rate of $100 an hour.

In total, the documents claimed that the assistants conducted $50,000 worth of work for each invoice period, but according to the settlement, a state investigation determined that Gruber only had “a single research assistant” during that period, who could not have completed all the stated work hours alone.

“Thus for the invoices to be accurate—that research assistant must have worked almost 12 hours a day for the first period and 16 2⁄3 hours a day for the second period,” the investigators pointed out, concluding that “Dr. Gruber’s February 18, 2015, ‘documentation’ of the research assistant’s hours did not reflect the actual hours worked by the research assistant.”

The Vermont Attorney General's Office argued that the false claims violated the Vermont Civil False Claims Act that allows the state to pursue a civil penalty against the professor.

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Under the terms of the reached agreement, however, the state decided to release Gruber from “any civil, criminal, or administrative claim” provided that the professor drops his invoice claims for a total sum of $90,000.

The settlement also notes that while Gruber “does not dispute the facts” outlined in the settlement, he “denies liability in general and specifically denies that he violated the Vermont False Claims Act, or any other state or federal law, regulations, or rules, including the common law.”

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