Kevin Drum takes down the official spin on the Medicare prescription drug plan. The administration says we're 10% under budget. Of course, that's 62% over budget from what we were told when the bill passed. It's also 8-10% over the costs HHS expected at the time. Those are the expected costs that the administration barred the HHS chief actuary from testifying about.
The savings is based on one month of operations in which few people have signed up and those who have signed up have had difficulty filling prescriptions. Oh, and let's not forget that states like California expect to pay an extra $150 million to cover costs. The savings, then, is based on one month of low participation wtih the states picking up a part of the tab and is compared to a third budget estimate, released in 2005, which was 16-20% higher than any previous estimate.
That, my friends, is how the Bush administration calculates savings.