Completely unacceptable: "Lie to Congress or you're fired"...
The Medicare official at the center of a storm about a bill on health benefits for the elderly publicly recounted for the first time on Wednesday the threats and pressures he faced to keep his higher estimate of the bill's cost secret. Richard Foster, the top actuary at the federal agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid, told the House Ways and Means Committee he was ordered last year to withhold technical information and cost estimates about the Medicare drug benefit bill which was narrowly approved by Congress last November....Foster said he decided to resign in protest after Medicare administrator Tom Scully ordered him to withhold cost data from Congress last June but his staff persuaded him to stay on and fight within his agency.
These are the type of people getting our tax dollars. That should enrage a substantial percentage of the population -- that is, if we paid attention.
Another sign of how far we've slumped:
Conservative Republicans balked at the $400 billion 10-year price tag the Congressional Budget Office put on the bill. Whether it could have passed if they knew Foster's agency had estimated it would be one-third higher -- $534 billion -- is an open question.
Wasn't it just a few years ago that "conservatives" were contemplating cutting Medicare, or even ending it entirely?
The barking about the price tag is bunk, really whatever estimate you get from the federal gov't should automatically be considered double. And even if they had an arguement for not opposing the program on principle, what reason was there to add to it? After all this time of hearing the same response of "but seniors can't afford their medicine!", I have yet to see someone point me to ONE example of a senior citizen forced to decide between prescription drugs & the rest of what keeps them alive of no fault of their own. Senior citizens are among the richest section of the population, they've had all this time to earn & save money, what reason is there to think they're struggling in large numbers?
I bet if someone were to look into this deeper, they'd find many seniors on medicare are hiding their assets so they'll qualify. After all, it is (to them) the responsibility of the state to support their retirement, no matter how elaborate their lifestyle. These people, by siphoning off the system so hard, are damaging the reputation of their fellow seniors, and should be ashamed of themselves. I do NOT pay my taxes so that Gramps can have his gambling habit subsidized.