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Acting now to save Medicare

Friday, August 17, 2012

As I have been traveling through Nebraska's Third District during the August work period, I am reminded about the fiscal situation facing our country. I hear from Nebraskans concerned about the future of Medicare and whether it will continue to be effective in the future.

Americans are right to be worried about the future of Medicare, because without reforms, this popular program will go bankrupt in the next generation. Under current projections, Medicare Part A will run out of money in 2024, meaning if you are younger than 50 years old today, Medicare will not be able to pay for the benefits you expect - and are paying for now - by the time you are eligible for it.

The President and Democrat leaders in Congress have failed to lead on this issue and have not proposed any plan to reform Medicare's impending bankruptcy. In fact, the President's new health care law takes more than $700 billion from Medicare to pay for an entirely new entitlement program.

Despite the bleak outlook, there is still time to reform Medicare without affecting benefits for those 55 and older, and to ensure those 54 and younger still will have access to a health safety net when they retire. However, time is running out and waiting to address the problems would only be more difficult - and could be painful for seniors.

We must make Medicare financially viable in the future without impacting current retirees. In ten years, the House Budget Committee plan would give seniors the choice between traditional Medicare or receiving the average amount of money spent by the government on each enrollee in order to purchase private insurance.

The second option, known as premium support, would lower Medicare spending by allowing competition among providers and giving seniors the ability to select the coverage which meets their needs.

The Medicare Part D prescription drug program is evidence the premium support model will work and make Medicare sustainable. Because of the popularity of the Part D, costs have actually come in 43 percent less than originally estimated by the Congressional Budget Office due to competition and price negotiation by participating insurers.

We all agree current retirees should continue to receive the Medicare benefits they rely on. However, we also must think about the next generation. I worry about the 50-year old Nebraskan, paying into the Medicare system their entire working career, who could lose access to this program if we fail to act now.

Solving this problem requires discussion and leadership from both parties. Rather than continuing to ignore this predictable crisis and punt the difficult decisions, I hope we can come together to save Medicare for future generations before it is too late.

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We have more people taking welfare from the feds than we do paying in. Some people not only get whatever income tax they pay back but get even more money back. Between 45-51% pay no federal income tax. If Uncle Sam took 100% of all the money the top wage earners made it would not even run the fed gov. a month. Reduced spending an having everyone paying something would help. This is probably redneck but if you do not pay you should not play (vote).

-- Posted by dennis on Mon, Aug 20, 2012, at 4:02 PM

You hope all can come together? Why didn't you wipe that ....eatin grin off you face when your neighbor yelled "you lie" in the state of the union address. You are nothing but a sock puppet my friend.

-- Posted by hulapopper on Tue, Aug 21, 2012, at 6:53 PM

U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, We all know the Republican leadership is on record as to they want to abolish Medicare and Medicaid plus end SS. You make no effort to help any of these programs. If so what have you done to help them?

I wish you Republicans would stop with the lie of Health care bill robbing 700 billion for medicare, as it just a cost saving, you know better and should know the truth or you are not doing your job.

You have been a complete dud since getting elected and done nothing to help those in your district, now with the third being extended due to census, i don't much of increased effort. Sure you might make your rounds to make an appearance at functions but i don't see anything beyond that.

I hope people in that district wise up and elect someone else who will look after them better than you have done.

You talk about partisanship, You meed to remember what Mitch McConnell said. Does,"Make President Obama a one term President" ring a bell?

-- Posted by Jody P on Wed, Oct 3, 2012, at 7:39 PM

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U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith
Washington Report