U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, this week expressed concern during a speech on the Senate floor that the Social Security and Medicare programs remain on an unsustainable fiscal path. Enzi noted that the Social Security trustees now estimate that the program’s combined trust funds will be insolvent by 2035. Additionally, the Medicare trustees now estimate that program’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2026.
“We are facing a strong demographic headwind,” Enzi said. “An aging population and rising health care costs continue to increase the gulf between mandatory program spending and dedicated revenues. For decades, experts have warned of the budget pressures we would face as members of the Baby Boom generation aged and became eligible for Medicare and Social Security.”
Enzi noted that over the next 75 years, Social Security’s and Medicare’s combined expenditures are projected to exceed their dedicated revenues by more than $59 trillion, or 35 percent, on a present-value basis. Within ten years, Social Security and Medicare will account for more than half of all federal non-interest spending. Without changes to current law, Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries will see automatic, across-the-board, reductions in benefits when the respective trust funds run out of money.
“For years the trustees for Social Security and Medicare have warned that these programs are on unsustainable paths, but successive Congresses and administrations have continued a bipartisan tradition of ignoring this uncomfortable fact,” Enzi said. “We must work together on a bipartisan basis to find long-term solutions that secure the future of these vital programs. When considering a $59 trillion problem like this, there are no quick fixes or easy choices. But the sooner we act, the easier it will be to preserve Social Security and Medicare for the millions of Americans who depend on them, while safeguarding the programs for future generations.”
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