- Social Security is prohibited by law from contributing to the deficit and simply does not belong in this debate.
- The health care reform law has proved that Medicare can be reformed without hurting beneficiaries.
- To control the cost of federal health programs, we must control spending in the entire health care sector.
8:51PM EST November 14. 2012 – The billion dollar national campaign to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to reduce the deficit is an example of the old political saying: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” America doesn’t face an entitlement crisis. However, cutting benefits for middle-class and poor Americans remains the go-to solution for fiscal conservatives who see the congressionally created “fiscal cliff” as their golden opportunity to target these vital programs.
OUR VIEW: Cut entitlements to control debt
The true challenges facing our nation include growing our economy, creating jobs and reducing health care costs systemwide (not just in Medicare and Medicaid). This is where the American people want Washington to focus its attention. They made that clear on Election Day.
However, many politicians continue to push for cutting Social Security’s earned benefits by raising the retirement age, reducing the cost of living allowance, or changing the benefit formula. That doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t grow our economy (just the opposite), and it makes it harder for seniors to afford their Medicare coverage. Social Security is prohibited by law from contributing to the deficit and simply does not belong in this debate. Voters of all ages and political stripes understand this and oppose cutting benefits.
The challenges facing Medicare and Medicaid are different. The health care reform law has proved that Medicare can be reformed without hurting beneficiaries. Thanks to health care reform, seniors have saved billions in prescription drug costs and received extra benefits, and Medicare gained eight years of solvency. Ironically, many of Washington’s most vocal fiscal hawks have voted to repeal these reforms, which would have severely worsened our deficit and Medicare’s fiscal health. To control the cost of federal health programs, we must control spending in the entire health care sector.
Congress and the president should listen to the vast majority of Americans who support reforms such as allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs, which would save billions, and lifting the Social Security payroll tax cap, which would solve most of Social Security’s long-term problem. Not surprisingly these proposals, which impact large corporations and wealthier Americans rather than the middle class, are seldom mentioned by the deficit-crisis crowd.
So much for “shared sacrifice.”
Max Richtman is president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.