In May, the Medicare and Social Security Trustees reported that absent significant reforms, the Medicare trust fund will become insolvent by 2024, at which point the programs enrollees will experience deep and immediate cuts in benefits. Meanwhile, Republicans led by House Budget chair Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) have proposed significant reforms to Medicare in an effort to prevent this from happening and preserve the program for future generations. Democrats have not, but they’re pretty sure that an unelected “board of experts” will be able to sort it all out eventually. Not only that, but they are constantly lambasting Republicans for wanting to “ending Medicare as we know it.”
In testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday, two Medicare trustees, Charles Blahous and Robert Reischauer, made clear that anyone who advocates “leaving Medicare alone” is in fact facilitating the end of Medicare “as we know it.” Here they are being questioned by Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam (R., Ill.):
Roskam: 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?
“We have a plan. It’s called Medicare.” — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), May 19, 2011