Medicare actuary Richard Foster says he nearly resigned over political pressure

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Foster faced pushback from the Bush White House over his cost estimates for the 2003 bill that added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. He said he was told not to respond to inquiries from Capitol Hill, but instead to send information to the Medicare administrator — who didn't always pass it along to the Hill.

"The experience itself was pretty awful, as you can imagine," Foster said.

He said he didn't face similar pressure from the Obama administration during the debate over the Affordable Care Act — even though his estimates have been a central component of Republican attacks on the law's financing.

"Nobody has tried to silence us," he said. "But that’s not to say they haven’t had their own ideas or thoughts about the best technical assumptions to use."