The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, March 19, 2004

The Medicare actuary story was news nine months ago!

There have been a good many stories noted here that, as if by miracle, ceased to be stories.

Well, there is such a thing as Life after Death...

When I first came across the story (piece of March 14), I somehow formed the impression that the story was - new. At least, the allegation was new that actuary Richard Foster had been threatened with dismissal unless he withheld information from Congressional members and staff.

Now I learn (from a Calpundit comment) that it ain't necessarily so. It cites an AP piece dated June 26 2003, bylined Laura Meckler, which says
Officials on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Health and Human Services said [then Medicare Director Tom] Scully threatened to fire Foster if he released his memo. Scully said that was an exaggeration, saying his comments were just "heated rhetoric in middle of the night."

(What was new about the story this time round was the copy provided to Knight Ridder of the email dated June 26 2003 that Foster sent to his colleagues. But the story itself hadn't substantially changed, so far as I can tell [1].)

How far is this news new? - just one of the umpteen questions the reader has to ask himself in parsing the product of our fine media outlets. Who somehow fail to point this requirement out to him!

  1. Contemporary references are not thick on the Google ground: a June 26 Kaiser page which mentions the threat of firing; reprint of a Wall Street Journal report of June 26 2003 which doesn't.

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