Republicans want CMS actuary to testify

Energy and Commerce Republicans on Wednesday requested that the committee invite CMS Actuary Rick Foster to testify about his April 22 report on the new health care law, which found that national spending on health would increase by about 1 percent over the next 10 years.

The request comes one day after the right-wing American Spectator reported that HHS had the analysis in hand before the House and Senate voted on the bill but waited to make it public, an accusation Foster has strongly denied.

The minority’s letter – signed by all 24 Republicans on the committee – makes no mention of the timing but a committee aide said it was impossible to know what questions each of the members might bring up if Foster does testify. The letter also points out that Foster’s analysis raises concerns that cost-cutting measures in the legislation, such as cuts to Medicare, may not be politically sustainable – leading to higher health care costs and government deficits.

“With little historical experience available, we believe it is necessary that this Committee conduct oversight as soon and as often as possible,” the lawmakers wrote. “We believe that inviting Mr. Foster’s testimony is invaluable to our efforts to rein in health care costs and government spending.”

The minority had not heard back from Committee Chair Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) by Wednesday afternoon.

“The Energy and Commerce Committee has received the request from the minority,” a Democratic committee spokesperson told The Hill, “and we will take into consideration their requests as we continue to develop the committee’s agenda for the year.”