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Official Was Told to Withhold Medicare Data

Health Care Prescription Drug Legislation 2004

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#1 DWF


    Dr. Who 1963-89, 1996, 2005-

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Posted 13 March 2004 - 02:48 PM



The government's longtime chief analyst of Medicare costs said yesterday that Bush administration officials threatened to fire him last year if he disclosed to Congress that he believed the prescription drug legislation favored by the White House would prove far more expensive than lawmakers had been told.

Richard S. Foster, a nonpartisan Department of Health and Human Services official who has been Medicare's chief actuary for nine years, said he nearly resigned in protest because he thought the top Medicare administrator, and perhaps White House officials, were acting against the public interest by withholding information about how much changes to the program would cost.

"Certainly, Congress did not have all the information they might have wanted, or that we had," Foster said in an interview.

He said Thomas A. Scully, then administrator of the HHS agency that oversees Medicare, repeatedly told him last spring and summer that Foster would be fired if he complied with requests from Republican and Democratic lawmakers to provide cost estimates of various aspects of the prescription drug legislation. Although other HHS officials ultimately assured him his job was safe, Foster said, the administration's practice of withholding budget predictions continued until the legislation was enacted in November.

Foster is regarded in government and policy circles as a competent and neutral civil servant. His disclosure set off the latest escalation of a partisan war over Medicare that has been playing out since Congress adopted the largest expansion in the history of the health insurance program for the elderly.

Yesterday, congressional Democrats called for an ethics investigation and dispatched a bitter letter to President Bush, who frequently cites the new Medicare law as one of his proudest domestic accomplishments. Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) demanded a new vote on the measure, which barely passed the House and Senate, saying that "members of Congress were called to vote under false pretenses."

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#2 Lord of the Sword

Lord of the Sword
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Posted 14 March 2004 - 12:11 PM

Somehow this doesn't surprise me.
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

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