Ryan Statement on Medicare "Trigger"
Wisconsin's First District Congressman Paul Ryan released a statement in response to the President's proposal to address unsustainable growth in the Medicare program. The Medicare Modernization Act [MMA] of 2003 includes a "trigger" mechanism - which was set off when the past two consecutive Medicare Trustees reports projected that the program's spending from general revenues would exceed 45 percent, an additional warning of Medicare's urgent financial problems. This trigger requires that the Administration submit to Congress legislation to get Medicare's spending growth back on a sustainable track. Congressman Ryan's remarks follow:
"Congress has known for some time that Medicare - as currently structured - is unsustainable. But the Medicare Trustees' report confirms that the problem isn't simply off somewhere in the future - it is upon us today.
"Medicare currently has an unfunded liability of $34 trillion. That translates into an obligation of more than $300,000 for every household in the country - about twice the average price of a home in the district that I serve. And that's the cost of just this one program.
"The only way to ensure this critical program can survive, and continue to fulfill its mission in the 21st century, is through fundamental reform.
"The Administration has today proposed a Medicare reform package that would increase transparency and quality, reduce government subsidies to the wealthiest beneficiaries, and lower medical liability premiums.
"It's now Congress' turn to act, and it is my sincere hope it takes this latest warning of Medicare's fiscal instability very seriously. Our actions on this issue - or lack thereof - will have an impact on this critical program and our nation's economy for generations to come."