WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Social Security and Medicare trustees released their annual reports on the programs’ financial health. The trustees found that, without congressional action, the Medicare hospital benefit will not be able to meet its obligations by 2030; Social Security’s combined trust funds will be exhausted in 2034; and the Social Security disability insurance program will be unable to pay its full obligations in 2016, leaving those beneficiaries facing a 19 percent cut next fall. In response, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) released the following statements.
“The numbers here present not just a challenge, but a choice,” said Chairman Ryan. “Either we can sit on the sidelines and put our vulnerable at risk, or we can take this issue head on. We started to strengthen Medicare earlier this year with the enactment of important structural reforms, but we’ve still got a long ways to go. And the longer we wait, the harder it will be to solve these problems. Our most urgent challenge is the solvency of the disability insurance program, and that’s why this committee has begun a bipartisan effort to improve its fiscal health. We made a promise to seniors and people with disabilities, and we’re going to do everything we can to keep it.”
“The Medicare Trustees report is yet another reminder of the urgency to act now and save Medicare for the long term,” said Chairman Brady. “Absent reform, the Trustees estimate the fiscal issues facing Medicare would require either an immediate 15 percent cut in spending or a 23 percent increase in the standard payroll tax—an outcome that would be disastrous for both seniors and our economy. However, in a welcome sign, Congress has begun to take the first steps to put Medicare on a path of long-term sustainability. Reforming the way Medicare pays local doctors has had positive effects for our nation’s seniors, providers, and the program itself. Now we must take the next step and pursue other important payment system reforms.”
“Yet again, the Trustees remind us of the serious trouble Social Security is in,” said Chairman Johnson. “Just next year, the disability program won’t be able to pay promised benefits. Individuals with disabilities who rely on benefits deserve the peace of mind that they can count on Social Security. That’s why I’m committed to making the disability program work better. And that’s why Congress can’t just keep kicking the can down the road. The challenges facing the disability program will soon be the challenges that all of Social Security will face. This latest report should spur Congress to action.”