Iowa Senator Charles Grassley — one of the architects of last year’s Medicare legislation — says the 19 democrats who’re suing to get Bush Administration documents about the cost of Medicare changes won’t get much if they win their lawsuit. The democrats believe the Administration significantly low-balled the cost of adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. Grassley, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says there’s not much that can be accomplished, other than to embarrass President Bush, even if they won the lawsuit. The Department of Health and Human Services refuses to release the documents the democrats want, and Grassley is rebuking the Administration for playing keep away.Grassley says he doesn’t have sympathy for the lawsuit, but he does have sympathy for the point of view that transparency in government is the best thing in most cases. Grassley says if the department knew something about the cost of prescription drugs last year, then Congress should have been notified. Grassley, though, says all legislation is based on the financial estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, so Bush Administration estimates to the contrary wouldn’t have made much difference at the time the bill passed. Grassley is holding meetings around the state, explaining the new prescription drug benefit and the discount card to seniors eligible for Medicare.
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