B'nai B'rith International Disappointed by Alarmist Rhetoric Concerning Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report
B’nai B’rith International is disappointed by the alarmist rhetoric surrounding the recently released 2012 Social Security and Medicare Trustees report on the current and projected financial status of both programs. The outlook for Medicare is largely unchanged this year, and continues to be affected by health care system-wide inflation. The outlook for the Social Security program is still relatively bright.
“While the report mentions actuarial declines in both programs, rushing to cut benefits sooner to avoid relatively modest shortfalls decades into the future is misguided and would have a cumulative effect resulting in steeper cuts over the long term,” said B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs. “Steps must be taken to ensure that the most successful aging programs in the history of this country can continue to provide meaningful health and income security for older adults and the others who are served by these programs.”
B’nai B’rith supports solutions that achieve solvency while protecting benefits, not those that trade benefit adequacy for program solvency. Some potential options to avoid the shortfall while upholding the goals of the program include removing the cap on taxed wages, resetting the formula to tax 90 percent of earned wages in accordance with the 1983 compromise, or make the benefit formula more progressive, among many other options.
This report notes that in the absence of policy changes, Social Security will be able to pay 100 percent of benefits until 2033 (three years earlier than last year’s report), after which the program would be able to pay 75 percent of promised benefits for 75 years.
The outlook for Medicare remains essentially the same as it was in the last report: it will be able to pay full benefits until 2024, if nothing is done. But the country is moving in the right direction by demonstrating new methods for improving care and efficiency.
“We must be careful not to cut programs that benefit those who need it most but to find ways to more effectively fund the program and to make health care more effective and economical,” said B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.