Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Drug Benefit Cost - $720 billion (with a bullet?)

We are shocked, SHOCKED to learn that Bush's Medicare drug benefit will cost $320 billion more than he (eventually) said it would. The New York Times has the story:

"Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, asked about the issue on Tuesday when Treasury Secretary John W. Snow was testifying before the Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Snow said he did not have detailed figures at hand.

Dr. Mark B. McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said later that the drug benefit would cost $720 billion from 2006 to 2015.

Passage of the Medicare bill was a major political achievement for President Bush and the Republican leaders of Congress. It squeaked through the House by a vote of 220 to 215, and it would probably not have been approved in its current form if lawmakers had thought the cost would exceed a half-trillion dollars.

Mr. Emanuel said: 'The new cost estimate destroys the credibility of the Bush administration. Officials were so far off in estimating the cost of the Medicare law. Why should we believe what they say about the financial problems of Social Security?'"