Don't Talk About Medicare Costs


The Bush administration threatens to fire a bureaucrat for speaking his mind about how bloody expensive its pet Medicare expansion will be. From the Washington Post story:

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.

We have already seen an upward adjustment of estimated one-decade cost of the new benefit from $395 billion to $534 billion. I think we can safely add "and counting" to that number.