Democrats sue for pricing data

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

WASHINGTON - Democratic lawmakers are suing to force the Bush Administration to release cost estimates it withheld from lawmakers during congressional consideration of the Medicare reform legislation last year.

“HHS should have released these estimates during congressional consideration of the Medicare bill so that they could have informed the debate,” Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Government Reform, stated in a press release. “The Administration had no valid reason to withhold the cost estimates then, and it has no reason to withhold them now.”

During congressional consideration of the Medicare drug bill, the administration withheld a cost estimate that showed that the drug bill would cost more than $500 billion. Many fiscal conservatives said they would not vote for a drug bill that cost more than $400 billion. The administration admitted to the higher costs after the bill had passed.

Beyond revelation of what the administration knew and when they knew it, the Democrats have not yet coalesced around an explicit plan to redress any legal violation by the administration.

Prior to the Waxman-led lawsuit, the Congressional Research Service published a report that said the administration apparently broke the law by withholding the cost estimate.