Senate Finance Committee Meets To Discuss Differences in Cost Estimates for New Medicare Law
The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday met with actuaries from HHS and the Congressional Budget Office to discuss the "debacle over differing cost estimates" for the new Medicare law, CongressDaily reports (Heil, CongressDaily, 6/25). According to White House Office of Management and Budget estimates released after Congress passed the Medicare law last November, the legislation will cost $534 billion over 10 years -- $134 billion more than the cost previously estimated by CBO. CMS chief actuary Richard Foster has said that the administration had the higher cost estimate before the final House and Senate votes on the Medicare law and that throughout the legislative process, his estimates on the cost of the legislation ranged from $500 billion to $600 billion over 10 years. President Bush and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson have said that the Medicare law will cost no more than $400 billion over 10 years (California Healthline, 6/24). Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that the meeting focused on the relationship between the different cost estimates for the Medicare law from Foster and CBO, rather than the controversy over the issue. "Right now, we just need to understand that process," Grassley said, adding, "Our members want to know how these things happen" (CongressDaily, 6/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.