Entitlement Programs’ Fiscal Stability Must Be Addressed
Congress has failed to address problems with the long-term financial stability of Medicare and other entitlement programs, and the "Bush administration's record on entitlements is decidedly mixed," J.D. Foster, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, writes in a Washington Times opinion piece.
According to Foster, the enactment of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, "expanding Medicare and deepening its massive financial hole, was strikingly irresponsible," but President Bush since has enacted the Deficit Reduction Act, "shaving almost $51 billion over 10 years off the growth in Medicare and Medicaid spending."
He adds that Bush this year also has offered "substantive proposals," such as a proposal to reduce the subsidy for higher-income beneficiaries enrolled in the prescription drug benefit, to "slow Medicare spending growth" by $252 billion over 10 years. Next spring, Bush by law will have to offer proposals to reduce the percentage of Medicare financed by general revenue to less than 45%, Foster writes, adding, "Reforms that just meet this test would not, by themselves, solve Medicare's financing problem, but they would represent progress" (Foster, Washington Times, 9/23).