Vermont has hired a policy architect of the Affordable Care Act as an economic consultant to help the Shumlin administration vet different single-payer financing scenarios.
Jonathan Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help Shumlin's health care reform team understand how different tax structures will impact subsets of the population as they design a proposal to pay for a planned universal health care program.
Gruber is a veteran of health care economics and national health policy having served as technical adviser to the Obama administration and Congress as they designed the Affordable Care Act.
The contract is worth $400,000 and is expected to solidify the administration's pitch to lawmakers when it presents its proposal to lawmakers in January.
The Legislature's Joint Fiscal Office recently signed its own more limited contract for economic simulations with Rand Corp.
The upcoming legislative session is expected show whether Gov. Peter Shumlin's signature policy priority will come to fruition.