March 23,2005

Baucus Comments on Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ Report

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today, U.S. Senator Max Baucus released the following statementregarding the annual release of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ Report. The statement follows:

“Today’s report tells us something we have known all along: Social Security is on solidfinancial ground for decades to come. More specifically, Social Security will be able to pay fullbenefits until 2041, almost forty years from now. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Officeprojects that the program will be able to pay benefits for 11 years longer, until 2052. Undereither set of projections, Social Security faces a long-term challenge, but there is time to developa thoughtful plan that will address Social Security's finances, and do it right.

“Medicare faces more severe pressure in the future. In fact, today's Medicare reportconfirms that Medicare is in worse shape than Social Security. Medicare will not be able to meetits financial obligations in the year 2020, 21 years before funding for Social Securitywill exhaust. We can take action now to curb spending in Medicare. Using health informationtechnology and rewarding providers based on quality care and better outcomes will help us takesteps to strengthen Medicare’s financial base.

“As we address the financial outlook of these programs, privatization is not the answer.Our experience with Medicare shows that, under current law, private plans in Medicare receivemore than 107 percent of the costs of caring for seniors in traditional Medicare. Similarly,privatizing Social Security would only worsen the program’s financial problems, causing it toexhaust its assets 11 years earlier. And a plan to privatize Social Security would drastically cutbenefits while adding trillions of dollars to the national debt. I am willing to work with thePresident and my Congressional colleagues to make sure Social Security and Medicare are herefor future generations, but privatization is not a solution I can support.”

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