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Linder Participates in Joint Hearing on Eliminating Social Security Backlog

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC


Representative John Linder (R-GA), as ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, participated in the "Joint Hearing on Eliminating the Social Security Disability Backlog," which addressed the Social Security Administration's backlog of claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The number of pending claims has reached unprecedented levels, with more than 1.3 million Americans currently awaiting a decision on their case. The problem is particularly severe at the hearings level, where the backlog has more than doubled since 2000 and the average waiting time is now almost 500 days.

"There is no question that this backlog is one we must work to fix. That said, in the long run, the more important concern, and what this hearing is really about, is the plummeting credibility of those who think that the Federal government can solve the problems of ordinary Americans. Too many of my Democrat colleagues think that anything that is wrong can be fixed by big government programs like SSDI and SSI. We are here today talking about why they are failing, but instead of learning a lesson about the failure of government-run welfare, the Majority party on this Committee will continue to push for big government programs; and they will fail."

Linder used the Federal government's failings with SSDI and SSI as warning for Americans to be wary of government-run health care. Linder acknowledged that the backlogs and ultimately rationing of services plaguing Social Security's disability claims system will be repeated - or worse - in a government-run health care system. He warned that the "backlogs" of the future won't just mean people don't get disability checks on time - it will mean people die waiting for treatment, or after receiving inadequate treatment.

"Today's hearing is a cautionary tale for those who think a government-run healthcare system will efficiently deliver medical services in a timely fashion. If the government can't adequately serve the 2.6 million Americans who annually apply for disability benefits today, that it will certainly fail to provide adequate health care services to 300 million Americans tomorrow."
Linder went on to say, "it was only 30 years ago that the British National Health Service approved the use of ‘administrative failure' as an acceptable cause of death for a death certificate. Those who trust in this Congress to allocate just the right amount of social policy medicine to cure what ails us deserve the poor service they will surely get."
Linder closed his remarks by stating that the two largest budget problems Americans face are Social Security and Medicare and that adding a government run healthcare system to those would break future generations.

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