Paul Ryan: Administration Fails to Lead Again on Entitlement Reform

President Punts on Medicare Trigger

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-01) called upon President Obama to adhere to the law and help secure Medicare for current and future seniors. The Obama Administration ignored a legal requirement – known as the “Medicare Trigger” – that calls for the Administration to submit a proposal to Congress to shore up Medicare’s alarming fiscal imbalance. The law calls for a proposal from the President within 15 days of his budget submission if the Medicare Trustees issue a funding warning: today marks the 15th day since the President submitted his budget; and the Medicare Trustees have been ringing the alarm bell for years.

In response to the President’s refusal to ensure Medicare’s sustainability, Chairman Paul Ryan issued the following statement:

“The President has failed to lead, again, on entitlement reform. By ignoring their legal requirement to submit a plan that would rectify Medicare’s funding imbalance, the Obama Administration threatens the sustainability of this critical program for current and future Medicare beneficiaries.

“It is incumbent upon the President to explain why he not only ignored Medicare’s insolvency in his own budget proposal, but why he also ignored the law today. Seniors, working families, and future generations can longer afford such irresponsible leadership.

“The President’s refusal to take steps to address Medicare’s insolvency is especially troubling after his health care law raided over half-a-trillion dollars from current Medicare beneficiaries to fund a new open-ended entitlement program. We need to advance reforms that save Medicare, not raid it. While making no changes to those in and near retirement, policymakers can and must advance patient-centered reforms to ensure that this critical program can deliver for future generations. Where the President and his party have failed, House Republicans will continue to lead.”

Under the requirements of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, if the Medicare Trustees determine the program faces a significant funding shortfall, a fast-track procedure is set in motion, requiring the President to submit a proposal that addresses Medicare’s imbalance within 15 days of the date upon which he submits his budget. Congressional Democrats turned off this “Medicare Trigger” in the 110th Congress and again in the 111th Congress. The law’s requirements have not been waived in the 112th Congress. Today marks the 15th day since the President submitted his budget, yet the President’s plan is nowhere to be found.