Waiting for Entitlement Crisis Would Be Irresponsible

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Why should we make improvements now in Medicare and Social Security?

“The simple answer is that the two programs can’t afford to pay the benefits they promise beyond the next 15 years or so,” explains Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. The sooner we act, he adds, the smaller the changes will need to be and the more time beneficiaries will have to adjust.

“Waiting for a crisis would be fiscally irresponsible and unfair to those now paying into both systems who have no way of knowing what will happen when the crisis hits,” Bixby says in a recent interview with the Orlando Sentinel about the troubling new reports from the trustees for Social Security and Medicare.

Bixby also points out that without reform, Social Security’s Disability Insurance program will run dry late next year.

Social Security and Medicare already claim 42 percent of the budget, a number that will rise in coming years while other programs face steep scheduled cuts. Exempting entitlement programs from reform, Bixby says, would require even larger cuts elsewhere — and more federal borrowing.

External links:
Social Security Trustees’ Annual Report
Medicare Trustees’ Annual Report
The 2015 Long-Term Outlook (CBO)

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