If That’s the Dems’ Grand Plan to Save Medicare, We’re Done
It’s an annual event as predictable as the blooming cherry blossoms: Every spring, the group assigned to diagnosis the fiscal health of Medicare delivers a grim report on the solvency of the program. And every year, certain members of Congress react with various degrees of alarm, indignation or incredulity — and then do nothing.
The latest report arrived Wednesday, offering similar news to that delivered last April: In short, the Medicare trust fund — the hospital insurance reserve to which working Americans contribute with every paycheck — will begin paying out more than it receives this year, and will be exhausted by 2019.
The report led to the predictable partisan finger-pointing over who bears responsibility for the country’s long-term budget woes. The White House said Congress hasn’t done enough to enact the administration’s budget-trimming proposals. Congressional Democratic leaders countered that the administration has opposed several of their own reform blueprints — some with a veto.
But in the midst of the flurry, a statement from House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) stuck out as even more absurd than the others. Here’s Hoyer:
[T]he Democratic Majority in the House is committed to ensuring that the Medicare program continues to function effectively for beneficiaries, providers and taxpayers well into the future. That is why the House passed reforms — as part of the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act — that would have extended Medicare solvency by two years.
Two years? Really? That’s the Democrats’ grand plan to save the program?
Don’t break your hand patting yourself on the back, Mr. Hoyer. Some of us who are paying into that fund every month want it to be around beyond 2021.