Medicare Expert Warned Against Revealing Program Cost

  1. http://www.democracynow.org/print.pl.../03/12/1534231
    Medicare Expert Warned Against Revealing Program Cost

    The government's top expert on Medicare costs told colleagues last summer that he would be fired if he revealed that the actual cost of the pending Medicare prescription drug plan was far more expensive than the White House was acknowledging. This according to a report by Knight Ridder. When the House passed the bill in November, the White House said the program would cost just under $400 billion over the next decade. But since then the White House has revised the estimate to be upwards of $150 billion more.

    It is widely assumed the Medicare bill would not have passed Congress if legislators knew program's actual cost. The White House had known the program would likely cost about about $550 billion based on calculations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

    Before the Congressional vote, the Center's chief Medicare actuary, Richard Foster, wrote an email to friends saying he would be fired if he revealed the higher estimate. Foster was also barred from answering questions about the bill's cost.
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    http://www.misleader.org/daily_misle...f03122004.html
    March 12, 2004 | Daily Mislead Archive
    Bush Threatened to Fire Official for Telling Truth


    During this time of record deficits, President Bush promised the country that his drug-industry backed Medicare bill would cost $395 billion.1 But just weeks after he signed the bill into law, his own budget office admitted that the bill would actually cost well over $500 billion.2 And today a new report shows that the President knew that the bill cost more than he had claimed, and yet he deliberately hid the information from the public until the legislation was already signed into law.

    As revealed in an exclusive Knight-Ridder report, the White House threatened to fire its own top Medicare actuary "if he told lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates" that priced the bill at more than $500 billion.3 At the time, conservative Republicans had "vowed to vote against the Medicare drug bill if it cost more than $400 billion." This means that the president deliberately misled members of his own party on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry that pushed the bill and has been a top contributor to his campaign.4 As Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) said, "I think a lot of people probably would have reconsidered" voting for the bill had they not been deliberately misled by the White House.

    At Knight-Ridder's website you can see the full text of the 6/26/03 email that Medicare's top actuary Richard S. Foster sent to colleagues informing them of the White House threat.5

    Sources:
    1. "Federal Deficit Hits Record $374B", CBS News, 10/20/2003.
    2. "Medicare drug plan balloons", Washington Times, 01/29/2004.
    3. "Bush administration ordered Medicare plan cost estimates withheld", Knight Ridder, 03/11/2004.
    4. Open Secrets.Org.
    5. "E-mail from Richard S. Foster, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services", Knight Ridder, 03/11/2004.

    Links:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/...in570166.shtml

    http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwash...printstory.jsp

    Posted on Thu, Mar. 11, 2004





    Bush administration ordered Medicare plan cost estimates withheld

    By Tony Pugh
    Knight Ridder Newspapers
    WASHINGTON - The government's top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan.
    When the House of Representatives passed the controversial benefit by five votes last November, the White House was embracing an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that it would cost $395 billion in the first 10 years. But for months the administration's own analysts in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had concluded repeatedly that the drug benefit could cost upward of $100 billion more than that.
    Withholding the higher cost projections was important because the White House was facing a revolt from 13 conservative House Republicans who'd vowed to vote against the Medicare drug bill if it cost more than $400 billion.
    Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, one of the 13 Republicans, said she was "very upset" when she learned of the higher estimate.
    "I think a lot of people probably would have reconsidered (voting for the bill) because we said that $400 billion was our top of the line," Myrick said....
    http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/8170927.htm
    E-mail from Richard S. Foster, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    Text of June 26, 2003, E-Mail from Richard S. Foster, chief actuary, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    "This whole episode which has now gone on for three weeks has been pretty nightmarish. I'm perhaps no longer in grave danger of being fired, but there remains a strong likelihood that I will have to resign in protest of the withholding of important technical information from key policy makers for political reasons. Stay tuned."
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Mar 12, '04 : Reason: links didn'r work
  4. by   molecule
    corruption of facts, compliance forced by threats
  5. by   nekhismom
    Anybody with any sense would have known that the Medicare bill was going to cost way more than the bush admin. acknowledged. His team is always covering up something.

    THis thread reminds me of something I heard on the morning talk radio show a few days ago. They were saying that all of a sudden all this political language, which was very confusing to the average american, was being thrown around and that they were quite confused on a lot of issues. They also said that it seems like the bush admin. is boldly and deliberately doing stupid stuff to the american public, and making no apologies, and actually blaming the public for some of the outcomes. Just relaying something I heard, is all.
  6. by   elkpark
    Another thing that doesn't get talked about much is that Thomas Scully, the administrator of CMS, was heavily involved in writing the new drug benefits program (which many of us consider more a huge giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies than a benefit for M'care recipients ...), and then, as the ink was still drying on the new program, he quit to go take a spiffy new job with one of the pharmaceutical companies (making tons more money, of course). Jeez, this administration doesn't even try to appear ethical ... :chuckle

    Congress is now holding confirmation hearings for Shrub's NEW nominee for head of CMS, who (coincidentally??) is the brother of Scott McClellan, Shrub's official spokesperson.
  7. by   movealong
    Quote from elkpark
    Another thing that doesn't get talked about much is that Thomas Scully, the administrator of CMS, was heavily involved in writing the new drug benefits program (which many of us consider more a huge giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies than a benefit for M'care recipients ...), and then, as the ink was still drying on the new program, he quit to go take a spiffy new job with one of the pharmaceutical companies (making tons more money, of course). Jeez, this administration doesn't even try to appear ethical ... :chuckle

    Congress is now holding confirmation hearings for Shrub's NEW nominee for head of CMS, who (coincidentally??) is the brother of Scott McClellan, Shrub's official spokesperson.
    I'm watching the selcection of which pharmacy benefit magager (PBM) will be selected for social security. The largest is, yep you quessed, one owned by a maker, namely Merck. but there are independent PBM's such as Express Scripts, which manages the drug management for the DOD. I hope an indy is selected. The tempataion for any PBM run by a manaufactorer to select their products for the formulary would be just too great. We are talking lots of $. I have stock in Express Scripts and hope they get selected......

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