July 22,2003

Grassley on Detailed CBO Scores of Medicare Bills


To: Reporters and Editors
Re: Congressional Budget Office scores on Medicare Bills
Da: Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, made the following commenton the Congressional Budget Office’s planned release of detailed scores of the Senate- and HousepassedMedicare prescription drug bills. CBO’s analysis will show that the House bill costs $408billion over 10 years, and the Senate bill costs $422 billion over 10 years. The cost of the House billis actually $174 billion higher taking into account its provisions for Health Savings Accounts andHealth Savings Security Accounts, which would bring the total cost of the House bill to about $582billion. The total cost of the Senate bill is actually $40 billion higher when CBO takes into accountthe effect of an amendment by Sen. Maria Cantwell, which brings the total score for the bill to $462billion. Senators accepted the Cantwell amendment on the floor based in part on the understandingthat it was budget neutral.

“As the work in conference committee proceeds, I’ll work very closely with CBO to makesure the conference agreement I support is within the $400 billion budget target. Today’s CBOanalysis won’t affect the conferees’ ability to produce a final bill that’s within the $400 billion thebudget gives us. I’m confident we won’t have to make major changes in the prescription drugbenefit. I remain committed to the rural Medicare priorities in the bill and to private competition,which lowers costs and gets us the most bang for the buck.

“The CBO estimate on beneficiary participation in private plans is virtually unchanged.However, CMS’ estimate is significantly higher. Regardless, I’ll continue to work with everyoneinvolved, including my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to make further improvements in howMedicareAdvantage would be a good choice for beneficiaries.”