Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Inquiry Confirms Medicare Chief Threatened Actuary
Published: July 7, 2004
WASHINGTON, July 6 - An internal investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services confirms that the top Medicare official threatened to fire the program's chief actuary if he told Congress that drug benefits would probably cost much more than the White House acknowledged.
A report on the investigation, issued Tuesday, says the administrator of Medicare, Thomas A. Scully, issued the threat to Richard S. Foster while lawmakers were considering huge changes in the program last year. As a result, Mr. Foster's cost estimate did not become known until after the legislation was enacted.
But neither the threat nor the withholding of information violated any criminal law, the report said. It accepted the Justice Department's view that Mr. Scully had "the final authority to determine the flow of information to Congress.'' Moreover, it said, the actuary "had no authority to disclose information independently to Congress.''
Mr. Scully, who resigned in December, in part to become a lobbyist for health care companies, had denied threatening Mr. Foster but had acknowledged having told him to withhold the information from Congress.
... well, suhPRIZE, suhPRIZE.