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HHS: Reports about health care cost study 'completely inaccurate'

For nearly two full days, this anonymously sourced story in the American Spectator -- alleging that the Department of Health and Human Services buried an actuarial report on the costs of health care reform -- has burned up conservative blogs. But HHS tells me that the story isn't true.

"If this issue hadn’t consumed my entire day so far," said Richard S. Foster, chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, "I would have found it fairly amusing." The article, he said, was "completely inaccurate."

"We began working on the reconciliation bill for the health reform legislation once it was publicly issued on March 18 – three days before the House vote took place on March 21," said Foster. "Because of the details and complexity of the legislation, it wasn’t possible to estimate the package before the Senate vote.

"We began work on the estimates right away, but we didn’t finalize them until the afternoon of April 22. We finished our memorandum on the health reform act later that same day and immediately sent it to those individuals and organizations that had requested it, including Congressional staff, HHS staff, and media representatives. Consistent with the Office of the Actuary’s longstanding independent role on behalf of Congress, we did not seek approval or clearance from HHS (or anyone else) before issuing our analysis."

HHS is looking for corrections from Big Government and other sites.

By David Weigel  |  April 27, 2010; 5:51 PM ET
Categories:  Health Care  
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