Medicare’s outgoing chief actuary, Richard Foster, said he almost resigned in protest to White House political pressure during the debate over Medicare’s Part D drug benefits. Foster, now retiring, recalled the controversy in a recent tell-all interview with Kaiser Health News.
“I was fully planning to quit in protest,” Foster said in his KHN interview. “I’d even started writing op-ed articles. I was going to resign pretty noisily, I’m afraid.”
The Obama White House isn’t the first resistance Foster faced. President Bush leaned into him over his cost estimates for the original bill that added prescription drug benefits to Medicare in 2003. At that time Foster said he was told not to respond Capitol Hill inquiries, and that he should send and information to the Medicare administrator, who would selectively pass it along to the Hill.
“The experience itself was pretty awful, as you can imagine,” Foster said.
“Nobody has tried to silence us,” he said. “But that’s not to say they haven’t had their own ideas or thoughts about the best technical assumptions to use.”
You can read the full interview with Richard Foster at HSN.