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May 13th, 2009
10:29 AM ET

Medicare is the real danger, not social security

Bob Weiner says we should worry about Medicare before we worry about Social Security.

Bob Weiner says we should worry about Medicare before we worry about Social Security.

The front page of the New York Times today reads: Recession Drains Social Security and Medicare. The latest report card on the social safety net is not encouraging. The officials who oversee the program forecast Tuesday that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted by 2037 — four years earlier than estimated last year.

Bob Weiner, former chief of staff for the House Committee on Aging, says when it comes to fear over Social Security, it's much ado about nothing. He joined John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

John Roberts: You say everybody has it wrong on the alarm bells being sounded about Social Security. How do we have it wrong?

Bob Weiner: Not everyone has it wrong. There are a lot of experts in Social Security who understand that this is a program that has been the most successful one in the history of American social programs – taking half of senior citizens out of poverty. Half of seniors rely on Social Security for 90% of their income.

Roberts: What do we have wrong, though?

Weiner: The program is solvent for the next 30 years. Once, and even then, when they say insolvent, it still will be able to pay 75% of the benefits even under the worst economic model. And the economic model that they're using is the crash that we're in right now. So they've taken the worst case scenario, instead of recognizing that the economy will improve and that we’ll go back to a solvency situation with Social Security.

Roberts: So what the Social Security trustees have said is that the system is going to go insolvent in the year 2037, that’s four years earlier than had been thought. It was earlier thought it was going to be 2041. But they say they have taken into account the bad economy and an economic recovery at the beginning of next year. What are they missing?

Weiner: They’re missing the fact that 11 years there have been deficits that the Social Security trust fund has already absorbed. In the past 15 years, there have been three times that they stated that the system will go downward rather than upward. This is a fluctuating system. What we have now, John, and I don't want to get in to the weeds, but you have the lowest birthrate by the baby boomers: 2.1. You have a 2.9 birthrate for the current baby-boomers but they're having the fewest children. So as soon as you get past this little blip, the system goes back into complete solvency. And that's a point nobody takes into account.

Roberts: So you’re saying the pressure will be taken off as we go forward. But you do say, and Tim Geithner was talking about this yesterday, Medicaid and Medicare are the real problems. They're expected to go broke in 2017. This is a real problem, is it not?

Weiner: That is the real problem. Social Security is solvent for at least 30 years and one third of the cost of the Iraq war or one third of the tax cuts; even then in the worst case scenario would solve it. Let’s worry about that in thirty years. As Nancy Pelosi said, first, do no harm. But Medicare is in dire straits and it can be solved with allowing imports. It can be solved with vying and buying and it can be solved with the national health care program that there seems to be a consensus toward right now.

Roberts: In 2008, we had 45 million people on Medicare. It cost $11,000 per year per person. In 2018, the Medicare trustees project that number to rise to 59 million as the baby-boomers retire. An average cost per person at $17,000 a year. Are we looking at higher taxes, co-pays, deductibles? Is health care for seniors going to cost a lot more than what it's costing right now?

Weiner: No, you're looking at cost controls in the health care system as the president has proposed and you're looking at building a volume through national health insurance that will be able to absorb these kinds of problems. We have to get a handle on health care or it's going to break us... Business, the hospitals, the doctors – there’s a building consensus for the first time to solve the problems that are not only in Medicare but in all of health insurance where you have 47 million people who don't have health insurance.


Filed under: Economy • Health
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    correction: by 2020!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  2. Ralph

    With news like this surfacing every so many years we hear the cries to privatize the SS system. This would be a disastrous idea. Just take a look at what greed has done to this economy. There would be those companies and high level principals that would benefit greatly from the monies floating through investment vehicles but as is with all other forms of business the majority would get little and the unsophisticated would be put in peril for their mistakes. This is and should remain the Social Security system and not the next banking and investment debacle.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  3. Nancy

    This is the best blog I have seen for a while. So many times people are just talking about how they want universal coverage because the gov't is going to provide it for free and we all have a right to care. It's good to see there are people out there with a brain that understand that a govt system isnt the answer. How about a little PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?

    May 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  4. John

    For the person that commented on docs: Doctors go through 12-14 years of extra schooling post graduation, not 8. They work endless hours for most of that time and are paid little or nothing. They are on call at the hospital every 3-4 nights for several years and may take night call even in their practice. Most have immense loans when they graduate and pay interest. General practice docs make above average income but certainly are not rich (ie ave wage is approx $140K/yr) and thats after years of lost income compared to their peers. For that money, in addition to the sacrifices made, they work long hours, have high stress jobs and try to make a difference in people's lives. There are always some bad apples, but most docs are highly intelligent, hard working, good people.

    Criticize the system, not the doctors. 90+% of all docs are controlled by hospital administration, this is not the 1950s anymore, the docs are not in charge!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  5. gary

    Nice to see everybody mad....

    But all we ever DO in this country is TALK...

    Be aware that insurance and medical management people couldn't find their own behinds with two hands and a flash light. They throw money away and charge even more. Then they fly to the Bahamas for golf.. When they want more, they whine to the government for special treatment.

    There is a cultural divide in this country that has allowed the upper classes to fall asleep at the switch, and here we are.

    Time to discuss the wakeup call; who stays, who goes. What we have now will never work... The bad news is that these people own Washington, and until we "throw these parasites out" we're never going to get anywhere. They just owe too much to their friends.

    Vote! and if needs be demonstrate..

    May 13, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  6. BEV

    i lived in greece for 4 years & you would be amazed how many people over there are getting social security they come over here & push a hotdog stand for 10 years then go back to their country & collect i also heard i don't know if it is true but their wifes get 1/2 of what their husbands get and never worked a day in their life nor can they even say hello in english. also i work with 3 women who are very wealthy they are in their 70's still working full time & collecting social security it doesn't seem right to me.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  7. Steve

    Don wrote:
    "There are too many liberal hands in the pot that are freely distributing the money to people who don’t deserve it and to people who have never worked a day in their lives, but could–including illegal immigrants."

    Don, while some illegal immigrants pay into social security – often using stolen numbers – few draw money from social security. Those illegal immigrant are helping to prop up the program for you.

    Our immigration system is broken, but don't blame that for social security's mess.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  8. Mike

    This is crazy does anybody know what the heck is going on. I think this is another way for the media and speculators to make people in the United States panic. All you guys do is just report that this is failing and that is failing. Why don't you tell the population why gas has gone up almost .50 cents since the first of the year. I ahve not heard one report as to why gas is over 2.20 a gallon in Mass.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  9. William Johnson

    How can Mr. Roberts claim that Social Security is "solvent" until 2037 when it is scheduled to start "drawing down" from the "trust fund" in just a few years and there is no money in the trust fund, just IOUs that will have to be made whole out of general revenues?

    May 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  10. Kevin

    35 million medicare recipients projected to be 80 Million by 2120; 45 million uninsured added to the program; 10-15? million undocumented visitors; and let's not forget the current 50 million on medicaid. If anyone thinks that DC pols can manage this challenge, they also think that Barney Frank, not Petraius, was responsible for the success of the surge in Iraq.

    PS. throw in the fact the the average age of an American RN is probably 53+ years old, so who exactly is going to provide this care?

    It worked when extended families lived out their lives in the same town, but now we are scattered around the country. Some of the petty comments above go to precisely how dumb "The People' can be; others, like the guy who suggested that everyone will not be receiving everything are on target. This problem is so monumental it's depressing to ponder. Unless every American is ready to contribute 55% of every earned dollar to fund these programs, it's not going to happen.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  11. Phil

    Mr. Weiner cites Medicare, a government entitlement, as having big problems controlling costs, but thinks that national health insurance (another big govt program) is the solution. This logic is laughable. A national health insurance scheme will either provide very little in the way of timely, quality care or will break the bank–pick one.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  12. Chris

    In response to James Stepp if you really believe the WHO rankings as the be-all end-all then you must believe the federal government has a balanced budget?

    Seriously if England and Canada's health system is so much better than why do so many come to the United States for treatment?

    Just remember a member of Parliament in Canada came to the United States a year or two ago to have treatment done at UCLA on cancer which Canada could not offer.

    She was as convinced, as you, that Canada's health care system was fantastic and ranted against those that came to the U.S. for treatment. That all changed when it was her illness and she realizes she needed to come to the greatest and most innovative health care the world can provide.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  13. Robert the MD

    Universal health care is for socialists. go to Europe or Canada for your health care if that is what you want. . In Europe, at a certain age, you cannot receive dialysis or a heart surgery. Will that be accepted by the American people??

    This is a dangerous path we are headed towards..

    May 13, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  14. Steve

    Raymond said:
    "How about letting some people opt out of this mess? I don’t want social security and/or medicaid and I don’t want to pay for it. The government can keep what it’s taken from me already. I’d rather manage my retirement and my medical coverage myself."

    Raymond, it does not matter what you do, who you are, or how much money you make. Unless you plan to off yourself sooner, you cannot guarantee with absolute certainty that you won't become a penniless, destitute, hungry, sick 77-year-old. If people opt out of social security and medicare, some of those people will do just fine. But some of those people will fail. And when they fail, the government will step in and help them, because we live in a civilized society and we won't allow our elderly to die in en masse the streets.

    Since we're going to bail out folks who are destitute anyway – I know we will with absolute certainty – letting them opt out in the first place and squander their money away (or lose it due to fire, illness, financial collapse, etc.) is bad fiscal policy for the government. It saves taxpayer dollars when no one can opt out and everyone has to contribute.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  15. Chris

    What I find remarkable is that many of the commenters here are *still* focused on social security when the near term crisis of Medicare is looming. Its like being worried about the truck 10 miles down the road while ignoring the drunk driver right in front of you. Medicare is not only a more immediate problem, its has the potential of being a significantly more expensive problem than Social Security.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  16. Clare

    Politicians stole money from social security to hand out to those who were never intended to be recipients, fund their pet projects, and put to their own use. And we did not hold them accountable. When will we begin to hold them accountable? We allowed them to bankrupt the nation with their irresponsible actions, we allowed them to corrupt the constitution to their own ends, we allowed them to become rich at our expense, we allowed them to underwrite programs and people who have nothing but contempt for us, we have allowed until we are soon to be defunct. Evil happens when good people do nothing. And good people, we have done nothing.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  17. Marcia C.

    I've paid into Social Security for over 40 years. I'm 60 years old and have no other retirement plan and no savings. All I will have in 6 years when I retire is Social Security and Medicare to take care of my needs. If I can't live on what I get from Social Security then I'll have to join the ranks of Obama's poor and live off other government programs. I truly feel sorry for the yougn people who will have to pay for my retirement but I've paid my dues. I didn't mess up the program. Right now today, if SS would give me every dime I paid into it over the years and not require me to pay into the broken system any more, I would be happy to set up my own retirement plan.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  18. John

    Mr. Weiner's analysis of Social Security is spot on correct. Any issue that might exist in the future is relatively small and so far out as to not be relevant today. However, because the gov't. (both parties are guilty) has been/is irresponsible with spending, they will try to manufacturer a phony crisis about SS. The real crisis is the continued irresponsibe deficit spending.

    Our politicians will attempt to renege on SS obligations (via a phony crisis) so they can continue to divert that tax revenue to their ongoing irresponsible pork barrel spending. It's really that simple.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  19. Jackie in Dallas

    You are missing the point of the whole story. Social Security is not the issue - Congress take money from the funds set aside for it IS. And that has predominately been done by GOP dominated Congresses as a way to make up for budget shortfalls caused by their tax cuts.

    Medicaid/Medicare was initially intended to be a safety net, not a full medical coverage program. As fewer and fewer people are covered by health care through their jobs, or as more and more people cannot afford to pay for health insurance, more and more pressure is put on a system never designed to handle the volume it does. A health plan alternative such as being discussed now would resolve many of the issues, and relegate Medicaid and Medicare back to their original purposes.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  20. Lionel Roger

    Only by voting out all incumbents in Congress, reinstating Glass-Steagall and putting term limits in place can America hope to stop the pillaging of Social security funds and the rape of our Treasury by both Congress and Wall Street-both of which sleep in the same bed. There is no money in the Social Security fund, there's only an empty file cabinet full of I.O.U.s placed there by Congress-a giant Ponzi scheme. There is no money for either a Government sponsored single-payer plan or the present broken system. America is broke and the people are in denial. Congress is disconnected from our Health care tragedy because they and Government employees enjoy Government-subsidized health care and pensions for life-a monumental travesty that borders on the un-Constitutional. But neither the media or the Courts have challenged this. It is a two-tier system of Health care that is unacceptable, unfair and not cost-effective.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  21. Christopher Orr

    David of Alexandria, VA talks about a national health insurance program "reducing the quality of care nation-wide and substantially increase the costs for many who are paying their own insurance now". I live in Canada and even if some of our citizens feel they have to put up sometimes with waiting lists that are too long, every citizen and resident in our country has almost cost-free access to the medical system and that includes, cardiac, cancer clinics, HIV clinics and medication etc. etc. It's not the best system in the world, but it is certainly a "developed world" ahead of yours. The US system excludes by its very costly and wasteful definition, 47,000,000 Americans. I think it's important to write out all the zeros in that number. The population of Canada is 37,000,000. There are 10,000,000 more Americans who are uninsured than there are Canadian citizens/residents! Think about that number! These are people that struggle to survive everyday let alone wondering if they can see a doctor if something urgent should come up. Then there are the infant mortality rates and many other numbers which beg the question of whether you should really consider yourself a developed country if we use your medical system as a measure for "developed". Yes you build great planes, your strike capability around the world for nuclear missile technology is the best, and what great bunker bombs, drones above your head to die for, militaries that can invade foreign countries because a president's daddy had a vendetta with a brutal dictator and we musn't forget the oil there was to steal and the museum treasures to plunder for the weathiest in your society, who have everything, and so now they want something no one else can have- priceless antiquities and art. All this at the expense of 10 million more people greater than the whole population of Canada- to be ignored should they have medical problems. How many Americans realise that the richest and most powerful country in the world has the very worst medical system in the developed world? Well finally an American president has "realised"! How long has it taken for someone in real power in your nation to actually try to do something, while having to stand up to the very greedy interest groups? A private medical system whose model is based on profit maximization will always try to increase profit margins at the expense of everything else- and finally we see in the past 5 -10 years that that profit maximization has hit the individual insured person. If they can deny one more person coverage or only cover a smaller portion of their expenses, those administering the system can take home more millions in bonuses whether or not it means bankrupting another sick person at a time when they least need the stress. What a great system!

    It's come to point, hasn't it? It is time Americans realise that they have a medical system that is the worst in the developed world and if nothing else, it makes the good ole USA look like a third world nation simply by the statistics of those left behind.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  22. Brad

    I say dump both systems. I've been paying into it. I know it's not going to be there. Stop taking the money I could use to guarantee my own successful retirement and medical care.

    I'm sick of this.

    The sad thing is I suspect we'll just find another way of not dealing with this until it really blows up in our faces.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  23. John L Tinham

    I am 69 years old and rarely sick. Last fall my daughters convinced me that I should at least have a physical because I had'nt had one in twenty years. I was shocked at the bills submitted to Medicare and my supplementary insurance. Doctors today rely solely on expensive lab tests costing thousands of dollars when enough could be derived from an office appointment. Obscene, unneccessary spending of tax payers money equivalent to robbery.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  24. Katsky

    Yes, the poor docors. Do you know how I know they can cover their overhead? Because they are all wealthy. But this isn't about them.

    Health care is an area that shouldn't have profit. We don't have any information to compare doctors and hospitals and most of us can't travel all over the country to see the best ones anyway. Few of us get a choice of insurance plans when we are covered at work. So the notion of competition doesn't really apply. If there is no competition, then profits are just a great big gift to the industry. And we can reduce the ridiculous administrative costs insurance companies incur mostly by trying to deny benefits. There are many places to control costs.

    We also need more doctors. We should pay for med school. What a huge burden all those loans are. Yes – they pay them off because they make good money, but what if they wash out after a year or two of those loans? The fear of something like that probably keeps alot of good peope from even bothering.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  25. Andy

    Wait a second here.....so Medicare/Medicaid, run by the gov't and takes care of "only" 45 million people at a current cost of "only" $11,000 per person is BANKRUPT. But it can be fixed if we throw in another 300 million people with a socialized medicine plan. The logic is then I guess - "well, we failed for 45 million people, maybe if we try with 300 million we'll get it right." And his key point is in his last comment - we can do it with "cost controls" which is rationing health care.

    This makes no sense and people are not thinking this stuff through. Why should we trust an entity that has failed miserably trying to provide medical coverage for a percentage of the population with the care of the entire population? We shouldn't.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  26. Jim in Missouri

    You're absolutely right Jay. Pay back all of the stolen SS contributions and it will be solvent basically forever.

    The theft from the fund is the problem and both political parties are guilty.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  27. Chris

    In response to a comment by J, you are correct saying that the insured are paying to recoup the money lost by those uninsured.

    But you are way off base when you say "the democrats plan will help manage those costs by managing people’s medical problems before it becomes an expensive issue."

    This will only work if people choose to quit the drug use, tobacco, and alcohol habits, poor eating habits etc...

    The crux of most medical problems is derived from the individual. You can't police everyone’s habits or maybe you can, you sound like you want big government. You can't force people to stop smoking, drinking, etc.

    And your reasoning would only work if people choose to go to their doctors on a regular basis. Early detection is the key, and the majority of people don't want to see a doctor even if they do have medical insurance. So you are right back to the beginning of treating the heart attack after it happens.

    And lastly, do you think the government wouldn't step in next to regulate the pharmaceutical companies? Those drug companies invest millions of dollars in research, plus they have facility cost, they must pay their janitors, researchers, secretaries, land maintenance, utilities, etc. They are not going to continue if the government steps in and says you can't charge that much cause it's a large cost to the tax payer.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  28. Mel

    At this point, it's ridiculous to look to place blame on anyone other than ourselves because are inherently governed by our own tendencies. We dropped the ball on Social Security and Medicare a long time ago and the problem is that parity is non existent in our economy right now. But this generation has exposed a lot of the weaknesses within our economic stability. Social Security and Medicare were always the end of the of the priority pool and first on the list of budgetary cuts. And we now that more people are relying on medicare and social security to survive. It's even more apparent because with the threat of losing retirement income, that's all that's left for a huge majority of a society that's increasing getting bigger and bigger by the waking minute. The baby boomer generation is reaching retirement and the need for medicare will get worse. The need for social security will get worse. The need for income not only for basic needs is a concern but with the desired advancements in technology comes the demand to survive. There are more things now that the average family has to put into the expense pool than there ever was.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  29. Jonathan

    Anyone under 45 who is planning to rely on Social Security and/or Medicaid is living in Fantasyland.

    I'm 40 and I just figure that my FICA taxes are the price I pay so all the current seniors who were silly enough to believe in FDR and LBJ's pie-in-the-sky schemes don't have to eat dog food. (kidding)

    As for me, I plan to be responsible for my own retirement savings and healthcare costs. (What a concept: self-responsibility!)

    May 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  30. Deborah Crews

    When will there be relief for us Baby Boomers? All we can hear is the negative comments about us. But we all paid in since the inception of Medicare and Social Security. Why can't the give away programs stop draining Medicare. I and my husband have paid for over 40 years and now because we have health issues and I am losing my job and group insurance I can't even find an affordable insurance period. Cobra is not a solution when it will cost $1,000.00 a month and with no job this does not add up to any solution! One hospital visit overnight cost $25,000.00 without any issues.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  31. Buckwheat19

    This is news? Anyone who has been paying attention has seen this coming.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  32. LJ

    I don't think most people are aware that research shows about 80% of current health care costs are for medical problems caused by poor health habits. So getting people to eat healthy foods in correct portions, stop smoking, stop drinking too much, get regular aerobic exercise, comply better with medical treatment (only 5% of inidividuals are fully compliant with doctor's recommendations), etc. would eliminate the problems funding health care. The way to implement this should be a combination of changing public policy to create incentives for healthy choices and educating individuals. It's not enough for a doctor to give a recommendation to exercise, lose weight, etc. – many individuals need to consult with a dietician, behavioral psychologist or other appropriate professional. Prevention is a lot less expensive than cure.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
  33. karen khemsurov

    It's probably because the system they use is so antiquated that fraud is not caught when it is so obvious. I served on the grand jury several years back and could not believe the lack of sophistication in their computer system. People were getting paid for hours they could not possibly have worked.
    Clean up your act!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  34. Don

    I am so sick to death of this discussion about SS failing. If it was managed properly then we wouldn't have any problems. There are too many liberal hands in the pot that are freely distributing the money to people who don't deserve it and to people who have never worked a day in their lives, but could–including illegal immigrants. The SS system was dreamed up as a program to help the elderly, the poor, the unemployed, widows, and orphans. But since then there have been over a dozen ammendments that have been made as "band-aid" approaches to either help more needy people or to fix the system as it was breaking. The way I see it, the SS system should be a "take out what you pay in" system. It's bad enough that it's mandatory, but we don't even get a say in the matter whenever ammendments are made by Congress. Oh, and one last point for discussion: The Government should NEVER be allowed to borrow money from this program. This is NOT what it was created for. If some moron of a liberal president wants to borrow money then he should be borrowing from a bank just like everybody else!

    Sources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_(United_States)
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/42/usc_sup_01_42_10_7.html

    May 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  35. lee

    We can buy a medicine from Canada and EU so we can reduce around 40% medicine cost.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  36. Jon

    If we would get rid of the unconstitutional programs like Medicare and SS, we wouldn't have problems with them.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  37. Sherry

    How about we put a stop to all of the TV and magazine advertisting that pushes prescription medicines? We could probably make outrageously priced drugs actually become affordable!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  38. brooke

    Maybe people should qualify for medicare with something other than age? People are on medicare who have spouses that can provide health insurance, or incomes that are high enough to afford many medical expenses. Give medicare to the people who need it, not the people who are using it just because they can.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  39. julie

    Why was Social Security first enacted? Looking around my little town, there are so many young people who draw "an SSI check" ! They have never paid into the system nor have their parents because the parents are too young (and will not work living off the kids SSI check). What are these children being taught? Change the requirements back to the original intent! I get so frustrated seeing so many living off the government while my husband and I struggle to keep our family going, to keep paying into the system, to teach our children to stand on their own two feet and a work ethic, and to maintain a Christian attitude. Help yourself and help others but do not take advantage!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  40. Brian

    Yes, Mr. Weiner, let's throw more problems on the next generation that the current generation's leadership is too spineless to handle. It has became the American way to thrust our problems upon our children rather than deal with them responsibly ourselves. We'd rather live high on the hogs and have our children suffer the consequences for it.

    There's also something else Mr. Weiner and the government aren't telling you. The Social Security "trust fund" doesn't have any actual money in it. It has a bunch of government IOUs. The government currently spends all of the surplus social security revenues on general expenditures unrelated to social security to make deficits not look as bad. The real problem with social security is much closer than 30 years from now, it's more like 10. That money will have to come from somewhere to pay back those IOUs to the "trust fund" so either other government programs will have to be cut, taxes will have to be raised, or we will have to borrow even more from the Chinese who already essentially own us. Eventually the Chinese will grow tired of subsidizing our lifestyle.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  41. Bob

    This is insane. There is no "trust fund". The extra money the government has been taking in for Social Security has already been spent, we spend it as soon as it comes in. The trust fund is really a bunch of imaginary money that will be paid in the future by the government either by increasing taxes or cutting other programs.

    Saying that it is not a problem is a bunch of accounting hand-waving. The reality is that we will have more and more difficulty meeting the financial obligations laid out by Social Security moving forward, and the situation is going to get progressively worse for the foreseeable future. You can call it a blip if you want to, but to me thirty years is a far-out projection and a long time to wait for the situation to improve on it's own.

    We'd better start cutting back on expenses now. If these were my finances, I wouldn't wait and see how bad things get before I took action. I know that in my personal finances, I've never regretted frugality. I wish the Government would take a similar approach with my money.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  42. william of ohio

    I liked hearing what Mr Weiner said about SS solvency. I have heard that the GAO (general accounting office) says the same. I'm tired of all politicians trying to scare the american people. My intent is to boycott voting in next presidential election. That is unless Ross Perot runs again. He at least told the truth about the big sucking sound as all the jobs left the country. By the way, how can we stimulate the economy without those jobs that used to contribute payroll taxes?

    May 13, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  43. Ross

    Social Secruity is just a government run Ponzi-scheme.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  44. J

    For thsoe who think universal healthcare is better than our current system, speak to someone from Canada. They have had "socialized medicine" for years. It may be good for the young, but the older you get, it transitions from curative treatment to paliative treatment. What's that mean? Example: 20 year old sees the doctor for back pain: doctor requests x-rays/MRI and surgery, if needed, and patient skips home to go about life. 60 year old sees the doctor for back pain: doctor prescribes Motrin and makes a follow-up appointment for 6 months, and gramps fades away in his Lay-Z-Boy. It's going to be an HMO on steroids!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  45. JAY

    President OBAMA dosen't have a clue as to what he is doing.
    The congress and senate (pelosi and reid ) tell him what to do.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  46. Ben

    First off, why does everyone rip on kool aid when they post comments about politics? What the hell did kool-aid do to anyone? (no, I don't count cult members as anyone)

    The random comments earlier about cap and trade are waaay off topic, and higher electric bills are a small price to pay if producing energy here gets $700 billion a year out of the pockets of the saudis, russians and venezuelans...

    The commentator is essentially correct though, Medicare and Medicaid are the real problems (though Congress constantly putting its hand in the trust fund cookie jar is also a problem). We as a country pay twice what developed countries pay for a system that leaves 40-odd million of our citizens out in the rain. When are we going to swallow our collective pride and admit that the unbridled free market may not be the best way to fix health care (or deal with energy, since the topic is apparently up for discussion)?

    The free market does some things well, like provide private goods and services at a reasonable price, like computers and cars. It has not done so well with public goods like health care, and unfortunately the federal government is the only organization that can do anything about it.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  47. Melissa

    While social security is a worry, Medicare is far more important. We have 30 years to worry about fixing social security. Medicare needs to be addressed TODAY. I think that they need to stop scaring people with "what about in 30 years".

    May 13, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  48. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    One of the biggest expenses is the HIGH cost of meds for seniors.

    Yes, we have the prescription benefit. When it first became available, all the drug companies immediately raised the cost of most prescriptions (except generic, but there are lots of meds not yet able to go generic).

    So, for people like me, the prescription benefit is WORTHLESS since I can't pay the copays. I bring home a bit over $1,000 in soc sec monthly, and if I purchased all the meds I should be taking, they would cost over $1,000 a month just for the copays!

    So, since meds are so high and people are taking half pills or one pill every other day (NOT a good idea), or no pill at all, then Medicare can take care of us when we get sicker for not having the meds. That expense is/will be humongous!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  49. Maria Sarli

    The majority of physicians do accept Medicare without incidence or denial. Why because they do get paid with no problem, whereas the privately maintained insurance companies give both the patient and the physician nothing but problems. Some doctor's are not accepting any insurance plans anymore with the exception of Medicare.

    Are you sure you don't want to re-think this. Medicare for the most part does work.

    I also think that our Social Security System should receive a bail out.
    We are the people who keep the economy going.

    Thanks

    May 13, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  50. CurtCMH

    Let's face it, we as a nation are not kind to the elderly. We all have the Peter Pan syndrome, until someday we realize that we are old and get kicked to the curb. We contribute taxes our entire life and then as seniors get slapped with unaffordable healthcare and living expenses. Uncle Sam's way of telling us to just die already to lessen the burden on the Peter Pans.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  51. MW-Ca

    This "hunky dorky" Health Care Plan that is supposed to be for everyone by the Government, could be okay for those who have no medical coverage. But leave the retirees and the elderly alone, if they have a medical plan.THEY ARE NOT GOING TO STAND IN LINE AND BE TOLD WHAT MEDICINE TO TAKE, WHEN THEY ARE ALREADY ON MEDICATION THAT IS CRITICAL. Get a grip Washington!!!!

    May 13, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  52. Nick

    Anyone who quotes Nancy Pelosi cannot be for real. How could someone who wants to reduce costs be in step with Nancy Pelosi. It seams like this administration wants to totally control all of our money and essentially redistribute wealth. Giving a tax refund to people who do not pay taxes is refunfing the money that they paid into social securty and medicade. Why would they not trend to going broke.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  53. Steve

    This moron didnt answer a single question, its all just a bunch of posturing and making up whats going to happen.

    Oh yeah...just because I say it is so, makes it so. We need to get out of this mentality.

    I love this the most I think...

    "You have a 2.9 birthrate for the current baby-boomers but they’re having the fewest children. So as soon as you get past this little blip, the system goes back into complete solvency. And that’s a point nobody takes into account."

    so, the answer is, as soon as people go back to having 3 or 4 kids at a time, we will be just fine....

    Ummmm, thats just not going to happen. Living within your means and actually enjoying your life is the new thing. Lets all run out and burden ourselves with a family that costs close to a million dollars to raise to age 18 (over $200,000 per child an average), if not more, all so that we can keep social security solvent. Wait, that would mean, that once again, we are using our kids as bank accounts, spending their money and leaving them with the problems.

    Keep your social security, Ill take care of myself thanks, besides, it is NOT going to be there regardless. This guy is an idiot.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  54. Scott

    The Fairtax address both the social security and medicare problems. But politicians are too busy disagreeing instead of doing what is best for the people.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  55. JAY

    THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE MADE TO PAY BACK
    THE MONEY THEY TOOK OUT OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY
    FUND ,THAT THEY USED ON OTHER PROJECTS IN THE
    PAST.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  56. Sick N. Tired

    "Social Security is solvent for at least 30 years...Let’s worry about that in thirty years."

    Typical. This type of attitude is why we have had to worry about the SS fund in the first place.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  57. Steve in CT

    I just returned someone to a convelescent home for occupational therapy. She'd been in earlier but had a setback. I asked the home when checking her in how long it'd take to get her in condition to go home. Answer; "22 days". Coincidentally that's exactly how many days of Medicare benifets she has remaining. She'll be ready to release the same day they can no longer milk the system. Hhmmm.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  58. Craig

    this isn't all that hard, we all remember the first econ lesson learned in school they show the guns or butter curve. we'll our gov't has been leaning to hard on the guns side the past 50 or so years leaving the butter of social services and domestic infrastructure to go to heck. Keep financing expensive wars, and building military technology that is matched by no others in the world (and I love and respect our troops) but do we have to out spend the rest of the world combined on military? they answer is no, we need to be spending those tax dollars on the good of our nation, welfare of seniors, the health of the public, and the infrastructure that servs commerce are where the dollars need to go.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  59. Andi

    Email your senators and the president and tell them: NO health care reform bill unless ALL government officials will be included in it and receiving EXACTLY the same health care as the rest of us. Also, no government official should be receiving a retirement fund that the American people, who pay thier salary, aren't also receiving. All government officials should receive Social Security ONLY. The money we will save by not supplying government officials with retirement packages can be used to fix Social Security. Obama is trying to push this health care bill through by July 31st even though the economy is still a mess.

    http://www.senate.gov/

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    May 13, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  60. Bill

    Everyone keeps saying there's nothing the individual can do. That's not true. As consumers, we need to buy American whenever possible. As stockholders, we need to pressure the companies that WE own to bring jobs back to the U.S. The companies talk about cheap labor overseas, but they don't factor in the costs of unemployment in the U.S. We're paying higher prices, just not on the products we buy. The companies have shifted their costs to the taxpayer and claim they can't make a profit if they have to pay for American workers. We, as individuals, need to use every tool at our disposal, to be bring jobs back home. Then we can pump money into OUR economy, instead of China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, etc. None of THEM are paying into Social Security.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  61. Jeff

    Here is some trending to chew on. If the Social Security "Experts" revised the insolvency date every year by the same 4 years that they just did (2008 over 2009) for the next 6 years then Social Security would be insolvent. (i.e. 2037 – 24 years = 2013 and 2009 + 6 = 2015) Makes me feel that they do not know what they are doing.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  62. brian

    I totally agree with Richard and Ron – collective smoke, promoting their own "expert brand," creating mass hysteria and fear, and capitalizing on it. And the media – all of it – is acting recklessly by feeding us all of this crap 24/7. There is NEVER any good news, only that the sky is falling.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  63. Kevin in Atlanta

    The time has come for a national health insurance plan. We cannot ignore this problem any more.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  64. Sheila

    If the real problems are Medicaid and Medicare why is it the government forces seniors at 65 that have private insurance they earned through retirement with their employers to go on Medicare. Medicare is primary and their private insurance is secondary. It would appear to me this is where they could save money. Because we could use our private insurance dollars instead of mediare dollars. Could someone out there please explain this to me? It does not make sense to me. Thanks.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  65. Carl

    We need to discontinue Social Security. As a young worker, it infuriates me to pay into a program that won't be there for me.

    These programs are just another form of generational robbery.

    May 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  66. Robert W. Sparks

    I suspect President Obama will tackle these items but he has other things to contend with at the moment. Over time the social security taxes will be slightly increased and the benefits will be somewhat reduced. I feel one of the main problems is the number of people who qualify as recipients. Social security was designed for retirees. Now days, every red headed step child who lost his dog at the age of 4 is qualified for something. That's all wrong and should be red-lined out of the program.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  67. DebraR

    Medicare doesn't pay doctors enough? Really? Have you checked out a physician's parking lot lately? This is a class that is NOT suffering. And the complaints about how much education they need are overblown. There are many professions that require 8 years of education and ongoing training. Doctors have been put in an undeserved class of people. What kind of ethical situations puts you in the position to say, "I have the knowledge and skill to save your life or even your child's life, but you must have enough money to pay me or I will not help you." That must be hard to live with, but this country must decide if healthcare is a privilage or a right (as in the pursuit of happiness).

    May 13, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  68. DianaRay19

    Imagine a world where the government has its hand in every bank and business, when every person is taxed and big business is bailed out by the goverment that owns part of them.

    Then imagine that government turning perhaps to China for a loan.
    Further imagine say China wanting their loan paid in full immediately, but no reserve from which to pay because the deficit has been spent and all the people have only paper to pay with.
    Now imagine slavery revisit, or chaos and communism within our shores due to a bankrupt nation.

    They say that the first sign of a nations fall is when it's monetary system is no longer worth anything.

    I would say we're headed that way.

    Social security was supose to be a short term fix. Perhaps we've grown to expect it.
    Perhaps we do feel we have a right to it and perhap we do since we've paid all our lives into it.
    Perhaps everyone feels they deserve and want healthcare.

    Me, I really really want foremost to remain a free nation.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  69. Robert

    Cost Controls is simply a means of HIDING costs, not controlling them. The same is true of an "cost control" method.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  70. Raymond

    How about letting some people opt out of this mess? I don't want social security and/or medicaid and I don't want to pay for it. The government can keep what it's taken from me already. I'd rather manage my retirement and my medical coverage myself.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  71. Master of Business Administration

    Social Security and Medicare are the two greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of the planet. Neither are truly viable at current tax rates.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  72. James Stepp

    Uh, David, I understand your fear but you have it exactly backwards. A national health care system, either government run or non profit, works far better in every other country than it does here. Their health care is less expensive, covers everyone, doesn't allow people to be turned away, and is rated far better quality than what we have here in our monopolized system by every health organiztion in the world.

    Please do not believe the propaganda thrown out by the very rich people who make their money by screwing up our health care and denying care. They are the ones who make our health coverage so expensive, because they turn a profit. We have the only health care system in the world that works on a free market basis, and obviously it doesn't work.

    Health care costs- England 7.8% GDP, Canada 9.9%, U.S. 15.2-17%

    Coverage- England and Canada is universal, in the U.S. we only cover 2/3's of our people (if they do not get denied)

    WHO health care rankings by country- Canada 30th, England 18th, U.S. 37th

    May 13, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  73. Matt

    Medicare already is in big trouble. Social Security is in trouble if our government keeps spending and expanding at the rate that it is.

    Ex. Creating a government controlled healthcare systems is not only bad financially (because of its unyielding burden on the taxpayers), but for healthcare in general. The wealthy will always be able to get the best care, but the average American will have to 'wait in line' or be told by the bureaucracy what kind of treatment they can get. This will affect the elderly most.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  74. Tom in Florida

    Let me start by saying that I am in no way an expert on Medicare and Medicaid. However it does seem to make sense that by taking on health care reform and bringing exploding costs under some semblence of control is a smart thing to do. I believe in free markets with a minimum of government interference. I also believe that in especially difficult cases where there are many differing opinions with many special interest groups looking out for themselves (hospitals, pharmecuticals, doctors, insurers), that the government does need to get involved. In this case I believe it is being handled in exactly the right way with government taking the lead in bringing these groups together to forge a plan where everyone gives and takes. Whatever form the final plan takes on, one fact is certain. We americans cannot afford any longer to live with the system as it currently exhists. While our quality of care may be among the best in the world, what good is it when a significant portion of the population is excluded due to cost? We are better than that. By bringing costs under control there has to be some collateral positive effect on medicare and medicaid. To be certain those plans will need to be looked at closely, but the first priority has to be with our overall health care system. For the first time in a long time, I believe our leaders are on the right track.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  75. al

    People who post that cutting payroll taxes is causing the problem have no idea about Social Security funding and how it works. The biggest problem with it is that the government, both Republicans and Democrats keep borrowing money from the trust fund that never gets repaid. Right now you don't pay after you make a certain amount of money. That is crazy.. What they ought to do is tax all dollars but at a lower rate. Yes it would cause the rich to pay a bit more but guess what, they have more and can afford it. They get enough tax breaks already while the working class suffers. Real wages have fallen in this country almost every year since 1970. The rich got richer, the poor got poorer.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  76. OD

    Simple. If it costs more, then more must be paid by the taxpayers. Who should pay more? Those who can should pay more. That means higher earners. You cannot expect the poor to pay for it.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  77. Mike T.

    Yep Medicare is terrible just ask the people who use it. That is of course unless you compare it to private employer sponsored coverage then it is not so bad.
    http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/hlthaff.28.4.w521

    The problem isn't Medicare, but how much we pay for our healthcare in general. I am all for cutting the fat (savings from EHR, fraud and abuse, ridiculous admin costs of private plans, tort reform, pay for performance instead of quantity), but at the end of the day all that is just like attacking the federal budget without looking at entitlements and defense. The percentages may be good, but the dollars are to small.

    We are either going to pay a much higher % of GDP for healthcare or hospitals will have to stop engaging in facility wars, doctors salaries will have to come down substantially and tests and drugs will have to make bigger leaps from prior generations in order to be covered.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  78. Tamara

    The interview did not include a vital piece of information–that George W. Bush added to the Medicare insolvency problem by pushing Medicare D, the prescription drug benefit for Medicare.

    It is nice to see that the industries who have brought us this mess are now finally trying to be part of the solution. Hopefully they see the writing on the wall that if they weren't so greedy health insurance wouldn't be so expensive and we wouldn't need to talk about nationalized care. I hope that the drug manufacturers will also realize that Americans deserve the same low prices that other countries get to pay for the same exact medicines. Maybe the drug companies could cut back on their advertising budgets to be able to help Americans in need and reform our system.

    To suggest that it is the fault of our government is to be naive about the profit motive of these corporations. One less Viagra commercial really wouldn't hurt anyone and might help solve this insolvency problem!

    May 13, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  79. Laura

    A huge problem with Medicare and Medicaid is FRAUD. It is so lucrative that organized crime is getting into the business. The punishment is also much less severe than with drugs.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  80. Chris

    The core of the medical crisis in this country revolves around one simple yet rather unpalatable truth - the typical American simply does not earn enough to pay for the variety of medical services available on the market these days. No amount of reform will ever pay for every American to receive treatment for every medically treatable condition that they may face over their lifetime. This was less of an issue years ago where many medical conditions were not treatable. But now, the scenery has changed. Poor, working and even middle class Americans simply do not possess the resources to pay into insurance programs to cover all of their annual visits, sinus infections, infertility, erectile dysfunction, nervous leg syndrome, cancer, stroke, etc. etc. etc. Tough choices will have to be made over what treatments ought to be covered and what treatments less resource able people will simply have to do without. It is simply not possible or at least not economically feasible to cover all persons for all conditions.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  81. Jack

    What is it, 5 billion dollars the American government (politicians) have borrowed from the SS fund?

    I think it is time we demand that the Washington beauracrats and politicians pay back or at least begin making parments on the money they have borrowed.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  82. Jon

    Congress long ago ceased treated SS tax revenues as something special and treated them as part of general revenue for them to spend. Convenently issuing IOUs to ourselves promising that our children will pay our SS revenues back with interest. So why should any analysis treat them as something different or special. Let's just treat the impending retirement and SS depebndancy of teh baby boomer generation as an outstanding liability and "mark it to market" now. Oh yeah that's right it would show that SS is already insolvent. Not to mention Medicare and Medicaid. We have collectively spent more than we earned/made for over thirty years. Now we collectively have to decide whether we will A) pay it off ourselves B) go bankrupt ala south america or C) kick the can down the road to our children. Give me the candidate that champions door A. Obama is behind door C.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  83. Pat

    SSA is such a stupid program. If you start drawing Social Security before your "full retirement" age, they limit your earnings, or, in effect, they limit the amount folks can contribute to the system if they continue to work beyond an arbitrary limit. How stupid. Why would a person want to work beyond the earnings limit knowing you would have to pay $1 back to social security for every $2 earned in gross income? Stupid, stupid, stupid. And Medicare? Geez, this is so stupid, too. You have good insurance through your employer, you retire and when you hit 65 they throw you out on your ear and you are FORCED to go on Medicare and then fumble around figuring out how to stay insured. This is truly a system to set up to fail. If people live a healthy life style, they shouldn't be FORCED to take up Medicare. If you don't take it when it's offered, you pay a penalty for not taking it when you turn 65. There needs to be a complete revamping of the way this country thinks about health care coverage. Time for a paradigm shift.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  84. sara

    "I am 57 and willing to take a 10% cut in my (future) Social Security if that would help……905 of something is better than 100% of nothing."

    I'm 30 and I'm willing to forgo all the SS I've paid and will pay in the next five years if I can be removed from the system after that and keep my damn 6%. What a total joke.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  85. Heidi

    How can we stop the downward spiral of small families when government continues to put restrictions on how children can ride in a car? You can't fit more than 3 children legally in a small economical car and yet we need more population to help with taxes and SS. Texas is considering keeping children in a car seat until the age of 8...If you have 4 children you are forced to buy a larger gas guzzler to accomadate your family which will eventually be supporting government programs like SS and Medicare! We are ruling ourselves out of health and life! We are so vuneralble to outside diseases because of our continued phobia's about clean this and clean that and sanatize this and don't drink from a tap etc. that we are living in a bubble ready to burst...talk about germ warfare! We are stopping ourselves from positive growth...and education..I say develope what is a God given talent to all children and we will have enough experts in every field to keep us head and shoulders above! Every person is born with talents that need to be nurtured...I for one was great at English and loved Science, but horrible at math. Yes, I need to know math but if the schools helped with my strong area's more and covered the basics with me in math, there is no telling where life would have taken me. School would have been much more enjoyable as well!

    May 13, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  86. J

    Universal healthcare will help cut costs throughout the system without sacrificing quality. If you spend a night in the hospital today you're likely to see a hospital bill for tens of thousands of dollars. Why is it so high? Because you're paying not only for your own care but the care of four or five uninsured patients that came in before you who weren't able to pay their bills. Face it, in a sense everyone is already paying for univeral coverage because hospitals are obligated to provide critical care and it's showing up in our medical bills. The coverage that democrats propose will help manage those costs by managing people's medical problems before it becomes an expensive issue. If we pay for a poor uninsured man to see a primary care physician, have a heart condition diagnosed, and have him put on prescription medication for that condition then it will be far cheaper than paying for his heart attack later on. Drugs like Lipitor or Plavix are expensive, but it's cheaper to pay $2k per year for prescriptions than pay $40k for an ER visit when that person has a heart attack. It would take ten years of prescriptions to equal the cost of one heart attack. Everyone's already paying for everyone's healthcare costs in one way or another already. Universal healthcare will allow us to cut those costs and save both Medicare and Social Security.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  87. sara

    What is going to be magically fixed by "cost controls in the health care system" that could not be implemented RIGHT NOW for Medicare? The government has massive purchasing power and heft, yet fraud, waste, and abuse are rampant. Why do we think this will get any better by EXPANDING government-run health care?

    May 13, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  88. Larry S

    How stupid can some people get . . . there is no social security money, except what is 'on paper' . . . as the cost of money will be going higher, the goverment will have a tough time meeting the paying of the social security. If you have complete faith in the goverment to keep paying for what they borrowed against the Social Security, then continue wearing your rose colored glasses . . . do not rely on the liars in Congress . . . stand up for yourselves . . . the SS money is yours . . . not the politicans. They do not care about SS because they have their own retirement plan. Come on America . . . get your head out of your butt!!!!

    May 13, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  89. Rose Dunlap

    The problem with social security started when they started awarding people with medical problems social security at a young age (disability) in some cases peoply who have never worked before. I can name you at least five people that do not deserve disability, have never worked, are just sucking the system and have been for years, while others who really need it can't get it. Where is the investigators for social security misuse.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  90. larrywi

    First off, social securirty was one of the better ideas to come along, but just like the highway use fund, funded by the transportation industry, the state and federal govts raid the funds as needed for other less productive and failing programs, raided them to the extent the funds are now insolvent and the programs are useless for the purpose they were intended. As for Medi Care, not a real big concern for me, I am a combat Veteran, and my primary care is through the VA, for the rest of my life, or until the administration does away with this promise to Veterans as well. The working people who have funded these programs with their sweat deserve to reap the benefits as they were intended, and we need to be sure that they do so.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  91. Jozsef

    WELL KEEP OUTSOURCING. WE ARE GOING VERY GOOD DIRECTION. THERE IS OUR SOCIAL SECURITY TAX , RETIREMENT AND OUR WAY OF LIFE

    May 13, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  92. Nik without a c Kripalani

    I totally agree with you. Medicare is what I am on, now that I read this, it is very scary. I want to let you guys know don't forget about the Medicare part D is for the people with physical handicap's. I work hard to put food on the table, roof over my parents who are retired. I want people to fix this quickly before someone says something else that might make me want to tell them that there wrong.

    I feel bad for the Senior Citizens, I have two of them, My Aunt and My Grandpa. That includes my parents as well for Medicare.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  93. Mike

    I am 57 and willing to take a 10% cut in my (future) Social Security if that would help……90% of something is better than 100% of nothing.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  94. Carol

    there is several issues that i know that could and should be fixed
    a friend i know passed away – and since SSN is 1 month behind and
    the friend pass in jan – SSN gave the dec check to his children who
    are in there 40. I think there is a problem with this and should be
    stopped – I could understand if there childred was under the age
    but come on kids over 40 getting there parents last SSN check
    plus there is other things that could be done on SSN
    Second; when a pt has surgery the f/u appt(post-op) is included
    well, i know when my father had surgery the dr's office sent a bill
    for the office visit – i called the office and fax the letter from medicare
    stating the post op visit was included in the price the dr got paid
    for – the next thing is my father got a different bill from medicare
    of where the dr's office recode so they would get there $60.00 office
    call – i called Medicare and informed them of (my opinion FRAUD)
    from a dr's office – if Medicare did anything about the issue i have no
    idea.
    also if a person can afford health insurance on there own after retirement – than why shouldn't you let them do this instead of
    no you can not get your social security check with out signing up
    for medicare. a person works very hard and they are entilted to the SSN check.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  95. Gregg

    Obama also drained Social Security by refunding payroll taxes to low income earners b/c he could not refund them income taxes b/c they don't pay them. Quite irresponsible to take funds out of social security given he knew their were insufficient funds. Hmmmm, I guess he can now pass his plan to raise payroll taxes on the rich. Another distribution of wealth? Sure feels like it. Mr. Robin Hood is Robin Us.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  96. Mike

    I am 57 and willing to take a 10% cut in my (future) Social Security if that would help......905 of something is better than 100% of nothing.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  97. Ron

    Well, there is really nothing we can do about any of this stuff – except listen to their fear stories. Our government is the only entity that can solve these problems – the people cannot. So get moving with some answers you people. Why do they keep telling us how bad things are??? DO SOMETHING instead of having lavish state dinners, etc.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  98. Richard

    Another expert who disagrees with all the other experts. Personally I think they are all blowing smoke in our collective faces. How about tossing a few extra billion bucks into the social security system instead of a bankers pocket? Ohmygod. That can't be done can it?

    May 13, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  99. Jason

    Medicare sucks, it doesn't pay doctors enough for their services. They can't cover their overhead with the pennies medicare pays out.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  100. David of Alexandria, VA

    It's very disturbing that none of this Social Secirity analysis gets into the Congressional discussion and rarely into the public debate. It is so patentloy clear to me tnhat the congress and the President are taking advantage of the current financial turmoil to snatch and greab all the tax money that they can - so that thyey can use it as they see fit going forward.

    I get chills when I hear about potential means testing for Social Security and Medicare and I am very worried that a national health insurance program (brought to you by the same foks that haven't got Medicare right in 40 years) will reduce the quality of care nation-wide and substantially increase the costs for many who are paying their own insurance now.

    Not to get off point, but the whole cap and trade system will boost everyone's utility bills enormously and the plan to help some but not all americansd is deiscrimatory.

    We are being badly manipulated here, folks. Wake up and spit out the Kool Aid.

    May 13, 2009 at 11:17 am |
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