The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Working for the drug industry
– in office, out of office

Sep 13, 2004

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) says that Thomas A. Scully, former head of the Medicare division of the Department of Health and Human Services, owes the government seven months back wages, or $84,933.

The GAO found that Scully broke the law by ordering a department actuary, Richard Foster, not to release to Congress the estimated cost of the administration's Medicare reform bill. It was narrowly passed in a dramatic 3 A.M. Senate vote after the Bush administration said it would cost 400 billion dollars. The actual estimate, the one Scully ordered withheld, was 534 billion dollars.

The bill provided a bonanza for drug companies.

What's the significance of this little trick? Obviously, Medicare beneficiaries will be charged more for coverage when the program finally starts.

In any case, Scully won't have any trouble paying his health care bill – even if he ever does cough up the $84,933. He is now a registered lobbyist for Abbott Laboratories, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Caremark Rx, and other health-care interests. They pay off very, very well.