State Rep. Greg Davids on Monday asked Attorney General Lori Swanson to review details of a 2011 contract between MNsure and Dr. Jonathan Gruber, a national health consultant whose work related to the federal Affordable Care Act has become the subject of controversy.
“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,” Davids, R-Preston, wrote in the letter to Swanson. Davids is a veteran lawmaker and in January will become chairman of the powerful House Taxes Committee.
Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology health economist, worked with Minnesota officials in 2011 and 2012 to assess options for Minnesota’s health insurance exchange and then plan what would later become MNsure. He earned $340,000 from the contract.
Gruber also advised the Obama administration during the development of the Affordable Care Act. He came under new fire earlier this month when comments he made at a 2013 conference resurfaced, in which he suggested that “the stupidity of the American voter” made it possible for Congress to approve the law. He has since apologized for what he called an off-the-cuff remark.
Davids suggested Swanson look further into why Gruber’s report to the state of Minnesota was delivered later than initially promised. Some of Gruber’s enrollment projections for MNsure have since fallen short, and Davids said he also wants to know whether MNsure still considers Gruber’s enrollment predictions for future years valid.
Ben Wogsland, a spokesman for Swanson, had no immediate comment on Davids’ letter. He pointed out that Minnesota’s Office of the Legislative Auditor is already looking into aspects of MNsure’s performance and operations.