Medicare Chief Tom Scully Threatened to Fire Top Actuary if He Revealed True Cost of the Drug Plan. The Bush Administration relied upon the drug benefit’s $400 billion price tag to win over skeptical conservative Republican allies.
Within weeks of the bill’s passage, the White House admitted it had underestimated the cost by $135 billion, or 35 percent of the cost. At the time, Bush claimed he had first learned of the estimate in early January 2004 based on calculations from the Medicare actuaries. But Scully and White House Senior Health Policy advisor Doug Badger were well aware of the higher estimates.