President says drug bill cost 34% more

Sunday, February 1, 2004

February 2 , 2004

WASHINGTON - The new Medicare Prescription Drug law will cost $534 billion, $134 billion more than expected, according to Bush administration officials.

The Washington Post last week reported that the officials could not explain the discrepancy between the assessments of cost by the administration’s Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated that the new law would cost taxpayers $395 million over 10 years.

Democrats plan to use the increased cost assessment as a tool in their battle to win repeal of a provision in the law that bars the government from negotiating drug prices with manufacturers when seniors begin receiving Medicare prescription drug benefits in 2006.