This year's report on the status of Medicare and Social Security underscores the dire need to reform these programs and reaffirms what we already know: that the insolvency of these programs is imminent if we don't act soon to put them on a more sustainable path. The health of both of these vital programs is in serious jeopardy, threatening the well-being of millions of seniors and future retirees.
According to a report published yesterday by the trustees who oversee the program, the Social Security trust fund can only maintain current benefits for another 20 years, running out of money three years earlier than they estimated last year when they thought the program would remain solvent until 2036. When this funding is depleted, seniors can expect a 25% cut in benefits. This is simply not acceptable. Moreover, the Disability Insurance trust fund is in even worse shape and threatens to be bankrupt within 4 years, putting the benefits of disabled Americans in serious risk.
Additionally, the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund is expected to become insolvent by 2024, and addressing this imminent insolvency would force the program to either immediately reduce benefits by 26% or raise taxes on workers by nearly 50%. Under the more likely, alternative scenario, the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund will be depleted in 2017.
It seems that the more we learn about the state of our nation's Medicare and Social Security programs, the worse off we realize they actually are. Inaction is not an option, and a failure to address the pending insolvency of these programs will jeopardize our nation's future. Rather than succumbing to politics as usual, we in Washington must work together to fix these broken systems and thereby ensure the health of America's seniors and the security of future generations of retirees.