Monday, December 6, 2010
In response to mounting concern about the nation’s rising debt and deficit, and increasing apprehension about the federal budget, prominent leaders and various commissions have come forward with recommendations to strengthen the economy and bolster the nation’s fiscal health. These proposals include both tax increases and spending reductions in discretionary programs, including defense, and in mandatory programs, such as Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.
Each set of these proposals recommends reducing the growth in Medicare spending over time. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 slowed the growth in Medicare spending by more than $400 billion between 2010 and 2019 and extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years, Medicare still accounts for 15 percent of the federal budget and is projected to grow over time due to rising health care costs and an aging population.
To better understand the key Medicare changes put forward as part of the deficit- and debt-reduction debate, the Foundation has prepared side-by-side comparisons of the following proposals:
• The Administration’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, chaired by Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson, based on the “Moment of Truth” report released on December 1, 2010;
• The Debt Reduction Task Force, chaired by Dr. Alice Rivlin and former Sen. Peter Domenici, in their report “Restoring America’s Future”, released November 17, 2010;
• The Ryan/Rivlin Proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan and Dr. Alice Rivlin on November 17, 2010;
• The Roadmap for America’s Future, as proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan in January of 2010;
• Dr. Bill Galston and Maya MacGuineas, whose recommendations were released as part of “The Future is Now” report on September 30, 2010; and
• Rep. Jan Schakowsky, whose Deficit Reduction Plan was released on November 16, 2010.
The side-by-side comparison is available online.