Hatch: Trustee Reports Show Urgent Reform Required to Save Entitlements

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) issued the following statement after the Social Security and Medicare Trustees issued their annual reports on the financial status of the two programs:

Today’s reports should serve as a jolting wakeup call to those who say reform to Medicare and Social Security is not urgent.  As the trustee’s explain, mounting unfunded liabilities in the trillions of dollars will lead to the exhaustion of “trust” funds and severe benefit cuts in the coming years absent concrete, structural changes. The Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund will be depleted next year. The Medicare program that contributes to hospital costs will be in the red in a little over a decade. And, all Social Security beneficiaries will face benefit cuts of more than 20 percent come 2034, absent any changes.

“In order to avoid these dire outcomes we must take the necessary steps now to secure these vital programs and guarantee their solvency for our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, however, the administration must lead to unite a bipartisan coalition around a set of responsible reforms. Sadly, we have yet to see such an effort.  The President simply advocates kicking the can down the road to confront the impending disability trust fund depletion, by taking funds out of the retirement trust fund which, itself, is headed toward depletion.  In the end, waiting will only delay the pain and make it worse. It’s unfair to young generations of workers to continue to ignore these problems and adopt short-term kicks of the can down the road by simply reshuffling funds.The time for real action is now. ”

Recognizing the fiscal challenges facing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, Hatch has long fought to fix the nation’s broken entitlement programs to guarantee their long-term solvency for generations to come.

This Congress, Hatch has teamed up with his House counterparts tocall onthe disability community and other interested stakeholders to bring ideas to the table on how best to address the impending depletion of reserves in the Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund. He hasintroducedlegislation to improve the administration and integrity of the DI program and hasput forwardfive common-sense, bipartisan Medicare reforms as means of both shoring up Medicare for seniors and for bringing down the nation’s debt.