Medicare Follies

MEDICARE FOLLIES….Remember Richard Foster, the chief Medicare actuary who calculated ? correctly ? that Bush’s prescription drug bill would cost $500-600 billion, not the $400 billion estimated by the administration? His estimate never made it to Congress, and the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Inspector General has been on the case trying to figure out what happened. Today they issued their findings:

The new report…found that on five occasions between June and October 2003, [Foster’s boss Thomas] Scully blocked the efforts of his chief actuary, Richard Foster, to comply with congressional Democrats’ requests for information about the cost of the Medicare drug bill.

Five times! These guys were dead serious about making sure that Congress was kept in the dark.

The bottom line, though, is that the HHS report says that no law was violated. An earlier report by the Congressional Research Service disagreed. The General Accounting Office will make the final determination in a few weeks. I can’t wait.

And Foster’s opinion? “My perception remains that Mr. Scully withheld that information for political purposes,” he said. Gee, I wonder what led him to that conclusion?