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Medicare cuts on the horizon

Marketplace Staff Apr 23, 2007
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KAI RYSSDAL: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s not going to have to worry about his retirement. The Secretary made tens, if not hundreds of millions, while he was running Goldman Sachs.

But he is kinda worried about the rest of us. Paulson said at a press conference today both Medicare and Social Security need to be fixed. Trustees announced those programs should live a year longer than the life spans estimated for them last year. Jeremy Hobson reports now from Washington.


JEREMY HOBSON: To the Trustees, today’s numbers were cause for alarm. This is the second year in a row that they concluded the money needed to finance Medicare will top 45 percent of the program’s expenditures.

But now that Democrats control Congress, it may be even tougher for President Bush to find a solution.

Even Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson admitted that Social Security and Medicare reform had seen better days.

HENRY PAULSON: I never thought it was gonna be easy. I don’t mean to sound naive. There was a time when I was a bit more optimistic than I am today.

Jim Horney at the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities was also looking closely at the report today.

JIM HORNEY: We don’t have a crisis in the sense that we have to do something today, whether that something makes sense or not. But we do have a very serious long-term problem.

The problem gets bigger next year, when some of the nation’s 78 million baby boomers turn 62 and can start collecting Social Security.

Many here say fixing the entitlement programs probably won’t happen until President Bush leaves office.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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