Medicare and Social Security on "Unsustainable Paths"


By Rep. Lynn Westmoreland

Today, the two trustees responsible for Medicare and Social Security announced both programs are on an unsustainable path. According to the reports, the Medicare Trust Fund will run out of money in 2024 and the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2033, three years earlier than predicted previously.

According to the Medicare Trustee Robert Reischauer, "Under current law both of these vitally important programs are on unsustainable paths."

This latest news comes on the heels of more bad information for Social Security. In 2011, Social Security paid out more in benefits than in received in payroll tax revenues -- the first sign of impending doom for the program.

Even with this information, Congressional Democrats and the White House still continued to push for no reforms to Medicare or Social Security saying that everything was fine. One of the most shocking statements I read came from House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra (CA-31) who stated, "Social Security continues to prove itself time and again as the most effective public program in our nation's history."

Really? A federal program that will go bankrupt leaving millions of Americans who have paid into the system with nothing is "the most effective public program in our nation's history"? Perhaps Mr. Becerra and I have a different understanding of the word "effective.'

If the Medicare Trust Fund does run out of money by 2033, that's only 12 years away from now. That means many of our seniors who are already relying on this vital program could very easily see their benefits dry up.

Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for many of our country's seniors and we must reform both programs so we can save them for today's seniors and future generations. Burying our heads in the sand like Congressional Democrats and the White House seem to want to do simply isn't a viable option anymore.