U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding this year's Social Security and Medicare Trustees report.
"This year's trustees report is yet another indictment of Congress and its refusal to confront one the greatest moral challenges of our time - our unsustainable fiscal course. Doing nothing to reform Social Security and Medicare will bury the next generation in debt, lower their standard of living, undermine our ability to compete in a global economy and leave our nation less capable of facing foreign threats," Dr. Coburn said.
"Despite making grand promises for reform, Congress has continued its business as usual spending practices this year," Dr. Coburn added. "The American people need to continue to hold members of Congress accountable. It is not acceptable for politicians to acknowledge the seriousness of this situation while doing nothing serious to fix the problem. The American people should be appalled by both party's dereliction of duty, obsession with the politics of the day, and refusal to make choices between competing spending priorities."
"The public should also understand that the true bankruptcy dates for these programs - when promised benefits exceed tax income receipts - are this year for Medicare, and 2017 for Social Security. The so-called trust funds' that were designed to keep these programs afloat contain no real dollars. Both parties have used these trust funds in an Enron-style accounting scheme that has made Congress look more responsible than it is while defrauding seniors and future generations," Dr. Coburn said.
According to the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), the deficits in Social Security and Medicare could soon force Congress to enact massive tax increases. By 2030, Social Security and Medicare spending will require almost 1 in every 2 income tax dollars.
"Congress can take action now to address this challenge by eliminating the more than $200 billion it wastes every year through mismanagement, fraud and duplication. I will do everything in my power to slow or stop new spending this year that is not offset by corresponding cuts. Congress should also move beyond the rhetoric and demagoguery that has defined the Social Security and Medicare reform debates and consider meaningful solutions," Dr. Coburn said.
Dr. Coburn, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), recently introduced a comprehensive health care reform plan that will help Congress meets its promises to current and future Medicare beneficiaries. The "Universal Health Care Choice and Access Act" (S. 1019) will help keep Medicare afloat by encouraging true competition among private plans to hold down costs, a model which already is working in Medicare's prescription drug benefit. The plan would also give Medicare recipients similar health care options available to employees of Fortune 500 companies.