B’nai B’rith welcomes the administration’s balanced approach to deficit reduction in a newly released Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, which would reduce future debt by an additional $3 trillion through an even balance between spending cuts and revenue increases. However, while this new plan details less painful ways to make up some of the proposed deficit reduction, some concerns remain about the impact of some of these proposals on health care and retirement.
“We are relieved to see a package that does not assume we can reduce the debt and balance the budget simply by slashing critical poverty, retirement, health care, education and infrastructure programs,” said B’nai B’rith International Director of Aging Policy Rachel Goldberg, PhD. “There are many savings in the plan that B’nai B’rith has long supported, including making public health programs more efficient and geared toward positive health outcomes, but B’nai B’rith remains wary of some of the potential cuts.”
Specific cuts, such as those to health care providers, as well as the burden that may be placed on states through some proposed changes to Medicaid, may prove detrimental. Some of the proposed cuts to Medicaid would result in increased state debts and significant decreases in services to those most in need.
But the plan rightfully signals to the country and Congress that Social Security doesn’t contribute to the deficit and should be handled separately. It also does not increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 as was proposed this summer and it calls for increased revenues partly through tax reforms on the richest citizens and by closing various tax loopholes.
“We are pleased to see the president respected the integrity of Medicare and Social Security, and reiterated the need for balance in deficit reduction,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “We continue to believe that deficit reduction must be pursued in a way that does not ask those with the least to shoulder the entire burden. We hope the deficit reduction super committee will adopt the plan’s basic framework, one in which essential programs are protected and burdens are shared.”