Dems Plan Proves Medicare Dead by 2024
Congressman Peter Roskam, House GOP Deputy Majority Whip, got on record the fact that as things stand right now Medicare is dead by 2024. No ifs, ands, or buts, unless a major overhaul of the system is undertaken, Medicare is done in a little more than a decade.
Before congress two officials testified that based on our current path in 2024 there would be “actual” cuts to Medicare at 17%. They also confirmed that Medicare would end itself by 2024 unless actions are taken to save the program.
Democrats have tried to claim that it is Republican cost cutting that dooms Medicare, but this is simply untrue. Bt the very rules under which it now works, it seems that Medicare is already headed for doomsday.
Check out Roskam’s great questioning of Robert Reischauer, member of the Social Security & Medicare Boards of Trustees, and former National Economic Council Deputy Director of the Bush Administration, Charles Blahous.
And, as Guy Benson says, the Democrats are in no way serious about preventing this “MediCrash.” They haven’t even proposed a common budget much less any true reforms. Says Benson, “Today marks the 784th consecutive day that Senate Democrats have failed to even introduce a budget blueprint.”
Rep. Roskam: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Your report shows that Medicare will now be bankrupt in 2024. Americans would then be forced to either endure a massive tax hike or “an immediate 17-percent reduction in expenditures.” In other words an immediate 17-percent Medicare cut. Can you explain what you mean by immediate?
Dr. Blahous: Well the way that the trust funds work, both on the Social Security side and on the Medicare HI side, is that the amount of expenditures the program can put out there is limited by what’s in the trust funds. Now on the SMI side that’s not really an issue because we just give the trust fund each year whatever is required to keep pace with costs. But once that trust fund runs out, the program lacks the authority to make benefit payments. Now there have been a lot of legal analyses that have been done of what happens when the trust fund runs out and they don’t all agree, but a fairly common one is that payments would simply have to be suspended or delayed until the requisite financing came into the trust fund which would have the effect of reducing payments simply by virtue of delay.
Roskam: And that immediate is the common understanding of immediate, in other words, this present moment in time. In other words, when insolvency happens, then you immediately are prohibited based on the law and based on your understanding as a trustee from paying anything further out. And your estimation is that it would be a 17-percent benefit cut. Is that right?
Dr. Blahous: Well its 17 percent on average over 75 years, now it varies according to year. I think in 2024 specifically it’s about 10 percent and that increases, then it becomes 25 percent by the 2040s.
Dr. Reischauer: What I think my colleague was describing is when the trust fund became insolvent, money would still be flowing in from tax receipts and Medicare would delay paying bills, and so a hospital would send this bill in and rather than being paid in 24 days, it might have to wait five months. The CMS and intermediaries and other payers would be writing out the checks and transferring the resources to the hospital, hospice, whatever, on a much delayed basis.
Roskam: So that cut just so I’m clear, is not a hypothetical cut, it’s not a hypothetical delay, it’s an actual delay in payment to the point of reaching this 17-percent number based on your own projection. Is that right?
Dr. Blahous: That’s right. The Social Security Act which deals with these trust fund issues is very explicit that payments can only be made from the trust funds.
Roskam: So there’s no other flexibility. If the revenues aren’t there, if an insolvency is declared, you have no other remedy but to move forward and make those cuts. Is that right?
Dr. Blahous: Right. The programs don’t have the authority to borrow in excess of the resources provided by the trust funds.
Roskam: And absent some change in the program your prediction is that is where our nation will be in 2024. That’s right?
Dr. Blahous: That’s right.
Dr. Reischauer: With respect to the hospital insurance system.
Roskam: I understand. So when the gentleman from Wisconsin said that there’s a proposal that’s out there by the Majority on this Committee that ends Medicare. In fact, Medicare as we know it will end in 2024, absent some change in policy or some change in moving forward. That’s right isn’t it?
Dr. Blahous: Yes.
Warner Todd Huston
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, BigJournalsim.com and all Breitbart News' other sites, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.