Investigations continue - Scully still on the hot seat

Sunday, April 11, 2004

April 12, 2004

WASHINGTON - The House Ways and Means Committee shut down further investigation into allegations that former CMS Chief Tom Scully hushed up cost projections that might have jeopardized passage of the MMA. Now Democrats are agitating for the DOJ to look into what some are referring to as “Medigate.”
Meanwhile, the OIG at HHS has launched an inquiry that will focus on two issues: whether Scully’s decision to keep CMS actuary Richard Foster from sharing cost data with members of Congress was inappropriate; and whether he threatened to fire Foster if he did so.
Scully, in a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, said he dealt with Foster “openly and fairly during my entire tenure.” But he did admit that it was his prerogative to control information passed on to Congress.
“There is no question whatsoever,” he wrote, “that I made it very clear to Mr. Foster, both directly and indirectly, that I, as his supervisor, would decide when he would communicate to Congress.”
Foster’s estimate revealed that the MMA would cost $551 billion over 10 years. After the MMA passed by one vote in the House, and was then signed into law, the president revised his cost estimate of the bill upward from $400 billion to $534 billion.
A critical number of House Republicans said before the votes were cast that they would not vote for a bill that cost more than $400 billion.