House Republicans work to stabilize Medicare, Social Security amid financial stress

House Republicans on both the powerful Ways and Means Committee and Energy and Commerce Committee renewed their call to implement much-needed reforms to the Medicare and Social Security programs in the aftermath of reports that showed programs continue to head toward insolvency.

The Medicare hospital program will be insolvent by 2029, Social Security’s combined trust funds will become insolvent by 2034, and Social Security Disability Insurance will become insolvent in 2028, according to annual reports released last week by the Board of Trustees for Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.

U.S. Reps. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Pat Tiberi (R-OH), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, Greg Walden (R-OR), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Michael Burgess (R-TX), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Health, all highlighted the importance of bipartisan efforts to address the financial difficulties of the programs.

“These reports are a glaring reminder that Medicare and Social Security – programs millions of Americans rely on for health care, retirement and disability benefits – are in financial trouble,” Brady said. “Congress has taken important steps to put Medicare and Social Security back on stable footing, but we have more work to do to preserve and strengthen these programs for the future — including delivering a stronger economy through pro-growth tax reform and fixing our broken healthcare system.”

Brady added that Tiberi and U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security, would continue to lead committee efforts to address challenges within Medicare and Social Security.

“Medicare is in need of serious and urgent structural reforms to put the program on a solvent path for current seniors and future retirees,” Tiberi said. “Delaying and waiting for the next generation to fix it is not a responsible option and will lead to unelected bureaucrats cutting payments for providers — a sobering possibility for the millions who rely on these services and treatments for their health care.”

The House Ways and Means Committee recently approved a number of measures to help strengthen Medicare programs with bipartisan support, including the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017 and legislation to reauthorize Medicare Special Needs Plans.

“While this report shows minor improvements from last year, it indicates Medicare will be insolvent by 2029,” Tiberi said. “Seniors and beneficiaries deserve more certainty. We have an opportunity to achieve long-term, substantive entitlement reforms and we must not let it go to waste.”

In a joint statement, Burgess and Walden noted Medicare is a critical program for people across the country.

“It’s why House Republicans have sought solutions to improve benefits and put this program on a more fiscally sustainable path, making reforms that will help both today’s — and tomorrow’s — beneficiaries,” Walden and Burgess said. “(Thursday’s) report reinforces the serious nature of Medicare’s uncertain future, and is a timely reminder that Congress should work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure its solvency.”