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Levin, McDermott, Becerra Statements on Medicare and Social Security Trustees Reports

Statement

Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Social Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Xavier Becerra (D-CA) today responded to the release of the 2015 Medicare Trustees Report and 2015 Social Security Trustees Report. The 2015 Social Security Trustees Report projects that Social Security solvency will be extended by one year to 2034. The 2015 Medicare Trustees' Report projects a solvency date of 2030, unchanged from last year's report.

Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Levin: "Today, the Medicare Trustees Report confirmed that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare's financial outlook continues to improve as health spending continues to slow. In addition, bipartisan legislation that provided a permanent fix to the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula, overwhelmingly adopted by Congress earlier this year, provided a vital breakthrough that rewards quality and innovation -- not quantity -- and will help Medicare drive improvements in care and better health. While we have made significant progress to improve the solvency of the Medicare program, we must keep looking for ways to build on our successes, aiming to improve and strengthen the Medicare program for beneficiaries in the years to come.

"Social Security provides a foundation of financial security for millions of seniors, Americans with disabilities, and their families. The Social Security trustees report found that this critical program remains strong. However, there remains the challenge of the long-term shortfall, which Congress must address so that current and future beneficiaries can continue to receive the benefits they've earned. The report also notes that the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund, if considered by itself, faces a shortfall next year, which would leave individuals with a 19% cut to their benefits. Congress should act quickly to reallocate the funds -- as we have done numerous times before -- so that these Americans continue to receive the Social Security benefits they paid for through a lifetime of work."

Health Subcommittee Ranking Member McDermott: "As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of Medicare this month, today's report underscores the importance of preserving and strengthening this critical program. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we have reduced inefficiencies and helped slow growth in health spending, placing Medicare on firmer financial footing and extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by more than a decade. Moving forward, we must continue to build upon these achievements and ensure that Medicare continues to guarantee the health security of our seniors for years to come."

Social Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Becerra: "For more than 80 years, Social Security has provided indispensable protections for hardworking Americans and their families. Today's Social Security Trustee's report shows that Americans who worked hard and paid taxes into Social Security have built up a trust fund surplus of $2.8 trillion. Congress can and should act now to ensure that the $2.8 trillion surplus is used to pay for the benefits earned by every worker. No arbitrary rule or bureaucratic accounting should prevent an American who paid into Social Security from receiving that benefit whether he or she becomes disabled, dies early or retires. Congress must stop playing games with the hard-earned money of American workers."


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