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Ways and Means Republicans Request Hearing on CMS Analysis of Democrats’ Health Care Law

April 28, 2010

Washington, DC – House Ways and Means Committee Republicans today sent a letter to Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) requesting a hearing on the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) analysis of the recently enacted health care overhaul.  CMS estimated that the law will increase health care spending over $300 billion, includes over one-half trillion in cuts to Medicare that could jeopardize seniors’ access to care, and will result in 14 million Americans losing their employer-provided health benefits.

The letter, signed by all Republican Committee members, notes that this is not an unprecedented request as Richard S. Foster, the Chief Actuary at CMS, testified in 2004 on the Medicare Modernization Act after it became law.

The Republicans stated, “The CMS report highlighted some troubling facts about the Democrats’ health care law – it will increase health care spending, cut Medicare over one-half trillion dollars, jeopardize seniors’ access to health care, cause millions of Americans to lose the plan they have and like and create doctor and hospital shortages. While these facts should have been examined before the bill was passed, they are still cause for alarm and should be reviewed by the Committee as part of our oversight of this new health care law.”

The full letter can be read below.  

April 28, 2010

The Honorable Sander Levin
Committee on Ways and Means
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC  20515

Dear Chairman Levin,

As you know, the independent, nonpartisan actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released their analysis of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (P.L. 111-148) and the “Health Care Education Reconciliation Act” (P.L. 111-52).  We are particularly concerned that they predict the bill will increase – rather than decrease – national health spending, the $575 billion in Medicare cuts could jeopardize access to care for beneficiaries, millions of Americans will lose their current health plan, and long wait lines could result from a shortage of doctors and hospitals.

We respectfully request that the Full Committee hold a public hearing to allow Richard S. Foster, Chief Actuary at CMS, to testify and be questioned about the analysis.  There is ample precedent for the CMS Actuaries to testify before the Committee about their analysis of major pieces of legislation.  You may recall that Mr. Foster testified in 2004 about the Office of the Actuaries’ cost estimate for the Medicare Modernization Act after it had become law.  Given the importance of this report, we urge you to hold this hearing before Congress breaks for the Memorial Day Recess.