Cost Of Medicare Changes Reportedly Increase

The changes to the Medicare program are apparently going to cost a lot more than expected.

According to congressional aides, President Bush's new budget will project that the prescription drug program and other changes to Medicare will cost about one-third more than had been estimated.

They say instead of a ten-year price tag of 400 billion dollars, the budget for the next fiscal year will estimate the Medicare bill's cost at about 540 billion.

As the Medicare measure moved through Congress, the White House and Republican leaders had assured conservatives that the bill's cost would stay within the 400 billion dollar estimate.

Bush will submit the budget on Monday. It covers fiscal year 2005, which starts next October.

The congressional staffers say it will predict a deficit of more than 500 billion dollars for this year.

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