Jan 26, 2016

Freedom Partners: Washington Must Stop Ignoring Entitlement Crisis

Post by Freedom Partners

Arlington, VA — The new budget and economic outlook released by the Congressional Budget Office yesterday indicates that Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund will be exhausted within a decade.

A report from the Treasury Department had previously projected that Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund had until 2030 until its depletion.

Freedom Partners Senior Policy Advisor Andy Koenig issued the following statement: 

“Not only is there zero urgency to fix entitlements in Washington, there’s active denial that this is an issue at all. Meanwhile, the solvency lifespan for programs like Medicare shrinks by the day as our nation’s crippling debt grows exponentially. Our elected officials are all too happy to ignore this crisis, but we need them to pull their heads of the sand and deal with this looming crisis — immediately.”

…”Not In Crisis”?

 President Obama: “Medicare And Social Security Are Not In Crisis.” “Now, we’re often told that Medicare and Social Security are in crisis.  We hear that all the time.  And usually, that’s used as an excuse to try to cut spending on those bedrock programs.  But here’s the truth.  Medicare and Social Security are not in crisis, nor have they kept us from cutting our deficits by two-thirds since I took office.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President At White House Conference On Aging, White House Office Of The Press Secretary, 7/13/15)

Washington Has Been Punting On Entitlements For Decades

90’s FLASHBACK: Medicare Solvency Has Been Considered A “Political Football” For Decades. “Although Medicare’s financial problems have been known for some time, they have descended from the rarefied realm of economic projection into the fierce cauldron of partisan politics in a matter of weeks.” (William Neikirk And Carol Jouzaitis, “Medicare Solvency A Political Football,” Chicago Tribune, 5/2/95)

Every Year The Trustees Release A New Report, And Every Year It “Spark[s] A New Round Of Calls From Around Washington” To Tackle The Problem. “The nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs are sliding closer to insolvency, the federal government warned Monday in a new report underscoring the fiscal challenges facing the two mammoth retirement programs as baby boomers begin to retire. Medicare, which is expected to provide health insurance to more than 50 million elderly and disabled Americans this year, is expected to start operating in the red in its largest fund in 2024, according to the annual assessment by the trustees charged with overseeing the programs […] That sparked a new round of calls from around Washington on Monday for a new effort to tackle the entitlement programs.” (Noam N. Levey, “Trustees Warn Of Looming Insolvency For Social Security, Medicare,” Los Angeles Times, 4/23/12)

“The Political Firestorm Over [Entitlements]…Doesn’t Show Signs Of Abating Anytime Soon.” “[…] the political firestorm over [Medicare and Social Security] — and the federal budget generally — doesn’t show signs of abating anytime soon. Liberal Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to end the Medicare guarantee, privatize Social Security and deny the cost-savings potential of the 2010 health reform law.” (Jeanne Sahadi, “Medicare Funding Runs Short By 2024, Trustees Say, CNN Money, 4/23/12)