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End Widespread Myth Social Security Faltering, but Fix Medicare Urge Ex-Hill Committee on Aging Chief/National Democratic Strategist Robert Weiner and Former Senior Hill Aide John Larmett in Palm Beach Post Op-Ed

2008-08-03 04:39:00

End Widespread Myth Social Security Faltering, but Fix Medicare Urge Ex-Hill Committee on Aging Chief/National Democratic Strategist Robert Weiner and Former Senior Hill Aide John Larmett in Palm Beach Post Op-Ed

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /EMWNews/ -- "It's time to end the

widespread myth that Social Security is faltering; the real problem is

Medicare," say ex-U.S. House Committee on Aging Chief of Staff Robert

Weiner (also a former White House senior staff member) and former senior

Hill aide John Larmett in a Palm Beach Post op-ed published today.



    "Presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, has called Social

Security funding 'a disgrace' and asserted 'Everything is on the table,'

including his desire to convert at least a portion to private accounts,"

Weiner and Larmett point out.



    But Weiner and Larmett argue that calls "to 'reform' Social Security

through risky privatization are a cry-wolf, granny-you're-on-your-own, Wall

Street giveaway - turning Social Security from a guarantee to a gamble."



    "The Congressional Budget Office has reported each of the past five

years that Social Security will be fully solvent through 2052, and after

that will be 80% funded - able to pay more actual benefits than now. One

third of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, or one-third of the cost of the

Iraq War would cover the possible shortfall. We have the money," the two

point out.



    Weiner and Larmett contend, "The real problem is Medicare. Soaring

healthcare costs are driving the entitlement to grow at a rate much faster

than the U.S. economy. The hospital insurance trust fund will be exhausted

by 2019."



    They assert, "We can't keep blindly passing Medicare's costs on to

future generations or allow its benefits to whittle down to being nearly

meaningless."



    "Health providers block the few real steps Congress attempts, including

legislation to authorize Medicare to negotiate best rates with

pharmaceutical companies and to allow patients to import safe, affordable

drugs. Medical provider lobbyists for doctors, hospitals, and the drug

companies often override any desire to restrain costs through cheaper

treatment with industry self-interest or the perception that more expensive

treatments are in order."



    Weiner and Larmett conclude that "a national health insurance plan

could absorb and fix Medicare's problems. Failing that, increases in

federal payments and possibly higher contributions by wealthy beneficiaries

may be needed."



    LINK to article:

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/content/opinion/epaper/2008/08/03/a1e_

iw_ weiner_0803.html



    Contact: Bob Weiner/John Larmett, 301-283-0821, or 202-329-1700





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Blake Masterson

Freelance Writer, Journalist and Father of 5

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