Two probes into the contentious passage last year of a Medicare prescription
benefit plan have sullied the law and sparked intense feuding on Capitol Hill.
First, the inspector general's office of the Department of Health and
Human Services (DHHS) is looking into why estimated costs of the bill calculated
by the CMS were withheld from lawmakers. The CMS's Actuary Richard Foster
said that last spring he calculated the cost of the Medicare plan to be $534
billion over 10 years, but was told by former CMS head Tom Scully to withhold
the information from democratic legislators who requested it. The Congressional
Budget Office had arrived at a sum of $400 billion, the figure used exclusively
in the Congressional debate.
Vastag B. Medicare Law Investigated. JAMA. 2004;291(14):1690. doi:10.1001/jama.291.14.1690-b