March 23, 2005

CRAPO: KEEP RESOLVE TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

Trustees reports cite need for timely updates

Washington, DC â?? The conclusions reached in the 2005 Social Security Trustees Report continue to demonstrate the need to update the program, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo said. The report, released today, shows a small deterioration in financial status from last year and concludes that the Trust Fund will be exhausted one year sooner--in 2041--than last yearâ??s projection. In addition, the Social Securityâ??s total future financial burden has grown from $10.4 trillion to $11.0 trillion. The Social Security Trustees Report is available at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/TR/TR05/index.html. A second report, also released today regarding the financial situation facing the Medicare program, indicates minimal improvement in the financial standing of the program, but cites the need to continue reforms set up under the Medicare Modernization Act. The Medicare Trustees report projects the program will remain solvent one year longer than previously reported; however, rapidly increasing medical costs make reform imperative. The Medicare Trustees report is available at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/publications/trusteesreport/. â??Todayâ??s reports reinforce that the problems facing Social Security and Medicare are getting closer and must be addressed now to keep the programs solvent for future generations,â?? said Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is the first committee to review any proposals regarding Social Security. â??More people are collecting benefits, a trend that will only continue. President Bush has demonstrated strong resolve in bringing this issue into public debate and we in Congress must keep that resolve to find solutions. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I have been participating in this debate. We need to preserve benefits for current retirees and those who are near retirement. But we also need to craft solutions for younger workers. We must preserve and protect Social Security to keep the commitments made to seniors today and to improve the retirement prospects for our children and grandchildren.â?? Crapo continued, â??The outlook for the Medicare programâ??s long-term solvency does not look any better; in fact, it may be worse. Under the new Medicare Trustees analysis, Medicare Part A, which funds hospital care for our nations seniors, will go broke in 2020. We owe it to future generations to make certain these programs continue to provide benefits to those who are most in need.â??