Panel: Medicare More Difficult To Reform Than Social Security
Unfunded liabilities for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will amount to $50 trillion over the next 75 years, Comptroller General David Walker said in an appearance on the "Fiscal Wakeup Tour," the St. Petersburg Times reports.
The group participating in the tour also includes Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition, Alison Fraser of the Heritage Foundation and Jason Furman of the Brookings Institution. They appeared at a forum on Wednesday at the University of South Florida by the invitation of Sen. Mel Martinez (R) as they travel to states with early primaries to highlight concerns about increasing health care costs and retirement.
Walker said, "If we don't get our act together, my generation will be the first generation in our nation's history not to discharge our stewardship to the next generation."
Panel members disagree on specific solutions, although all believe that "putting Social Security on sound footing" will be easier than bringing down the long-term costs of Medicare, the Times reports.
John Rother, policy director for AARP, said the panel was accurate in pointing out fiscal problems, but he cautioned against placing too much attention on the federal budget and neglecting the effort to reign in health care costs, the Times reports. "We are not getting good value for health care dollars compared to other countries," he said (Nohlgren, St. Petersburg Times, 5/31).