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End Widespread Myth Social Security Faltering, but Fix Medicare Urge Ex-Hill Committee on Aging Chief/National Democratic Strategist Robert Weiner and Former Senior Hill Aide John Larmett in Palm Beach Post Op-Ed
Date:8/3/2008

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "It's time to end the widespread myth that Social Security is faltering; the real problem is Medicare," say ex-U.S. House Committee on Aging Chief of Staff Robert Weiner (also a former White House senior staff member) and former senior Hill aide John Larmett in a Palm Beach Post op-ed published today.

"Presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, has called Social Security funding 'a disgrace' and asserted 'Everything is on the table,' including his desire to convert at least a portion to private accounts," Weiner and Larmett point out.

But Weiner and Larmett argue that calls "to 'reform' Social Security through risky privatization are a cry-wolf, granny-you're-on-your-own, Wall Street giveaway - turning Social Security from a guarantee to a gamble."

"The Congressional Budget Office has reported each of the past five years that Social Security will be fully solvent through 2052, and after that will be 80% funded - able to pay more actual benefits than now. One third of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, or one-third of the cost of the Iraq War would cover the possible shortfall. We have the money," the two point out.

Weiner and Larmett contend, "The real problem is Medicare. Soaring healthcare costs are driving the entitlement to grow at a rate much faster than the U.S. economy. The hospital insurance trust fund will be exhausted by 2019."

They assert, "We can't keep blindly passing Medicare's costs on to future generations or allow its benefits to whittle down to being nearly meaningless."

"Health providers block the few real steps Congress attempts, including legislation to authorize Medicare to negotiate best rates with pharmaceutical companies and to allow patients to import safe, affordable drugs. Medical provider lobbyists for doctors, hospitals, and the drug companies often override any desire to restrain costs through cheaper treatment with industry self-interest or the perception that more expensive treatments are in order."

Weiner and Larmett conclude that "a national health insurance plan could absorb and fix Medicare's problems. Failing that, increases in federal payments and possibly higher contributions by wealthy beneficiaries may be needed."

LINK to article: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/content/opinion/epaper/2008/08/03/a1e_ iw_ weiner_0803.html

Contact: Bob Weiner/John Larmett, 301-283-0821, or 202-329-1700


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SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates
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