FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2008
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement by Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, on Legislation to Address Medicare Solvency
The law created a “trigger” that requires action if the Medicare trustees have issued two consecutive reports projecting the program’s spending from general revenue would exceed 45 percent. This year, in response to the second consecutive Medicare Trustee report, the President proposed legislation to lengthen the life of the trust fund and improve Medicare and that legislation was introduced by members in both houses. Under the law, Congress is required to act on the President’s proposal or an alternative by July 30.
The Congressional Budget Office may have determined that budget gimmicks contained in Medicare legislation passed last week meet the technical requirements of the trigger law. But parliamentary sleight of hand will do nothing to resolve the enormous financial challenges presented by Medicare in the near future.
Congress has failed to act to address the underlying fiscal crisis, and the Democrat House leadership is now actively seeking to silence the alarm bells and prevent any action to address Medicare’s underlying solvency problems.
In my view, this is morally irresponsible and ignores the clear duty to preserve and improve Medicare for our senior citizens. Congress’ continued inaction will impose the crushing obligations of a broken system on our children and grandchildren and undermine our country’s economic viability in a global economy. I call on the Democrat leadership to acknowledge the unmistakable warning signs and to take action on the President’s legislation.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011