Worth Noting

What Americans need to remember when Obama talks about Medicare

August 20, 2012

As I wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, Republicans can win the Medicare debate if they have courage to make the case that reforms are necessary to keep Medicare from going broke in 2024.  

President Obama provided the opening for Republicans to win this debate when he reduced future Medicare spending by $716 billion to pay for ObamaCare.

The Romney-Ryan ticket would repeal ObamaCare and thereby restore the $716 billion to stabilize Medicare’s finances. Mitt Romney has also offered a reform package to protect all the promises made to today’s seniors, while making Medicare sustainable for future generations.

Of course, Mr. Obama and his team are attacking Romney-Ryan for offering these reforms.  What’s more interesting is that the president is obligated by law to offer his proposals to save Medicare, but has shirked this statutory responsibility four years.

Mr. Obama is required by law to respond to the “Medicare trigger,” a forecast from the Medicare Trustees that general revenues will be required for 45% or more of the program's outlays within a seven-year period, which signals that Medicare is financially unsustainable.

Specifically, Section 1105 of Title 31 of the U.S. Code requires:

“If there is a Medicare funding warning under section 801(a)(2) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 made in a year, the President shall submit to Congress, within the I5-day period beginning on the date of the budget submission to Congress under subsection (a) for the succeeding year, proposed legislation to respond to such warning.”

The Medicare Trustees have issued this warning every spring for the past five years, but only President George W. Bush followed the law, submitting legislation to Congress in 2008 that lowered general revenue spending to the 45% level, restoring Medicare to financial sustainability.  The measure was introduced in the House and the Senate, but the Democratic Congress under Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid failed to ever consider the measure. 

Though the Medicare Trustees issued a warning in 2009, 2010, 2011, and again this spring, Mr. Obama has ignored the law each year and failed to submit the required legislation to Congress.  His neglect has not gone unnoticed, as members of his own Cabinet have reminded him of his duty to do so, and Congressman Paul Ryan wrote a letter with Senator Jeff Sessions earlier this year demanding the president act.

In 2008, then-Senator Obama said he wanted to tackle Medicare in “first term as president.” He didn’t do so. Every spring for the past four years, the Medicare Trustees have reminded him of his legal responsibility to propose how to put Medicare’s finances in order.  

The president’s failure to act is another example of how he has put politics ahead of the country’s best interests and in this case, how he has put politics ahead of the rule of law. It’s a failure of presidential leadership every American should remember as they watch the debate over Medicare.

This article originally appeared on FoxNews.com on Saturday, August 20, 2012.

Related Note

Placeholder worthnoting 13f229f6e507d529094287d726532928452221003ca40503d2a809ccd747c9f6
July 09, 2015 |
Worth Noting
AEI President Arthur Brooks’ 'The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America' is a must-read for every American who wants to move past our broken status quo and reunite our country. Arthur has a fascina...
Placeholder worthnoting 13f229f6e507d529094287d726532928452221003ca40503d2a809ccd747c9f6
June 29, 2015 |
Worth Noting
I’m surprised Senator Ted Cruz criticizes me in his new book, particularly since I have been promoting it on my website, Rove.com, since April. Regardless, my recollection of the phone call he references from six years ago (2009...
Placeholder worthnoting 13f229f6e507d529094287d726532928452221003ca40503d2a809ccd747c9f6
April 22, 2015 |
Worth Noting
Dana Perino’s ‘And the Good News Is…Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side’ is a delightful and inspiring read about her journey from summers on her grandfather’s ranch to the White House. In describing her ex...
Placeholder worthnoting 13f229f6e507d529094287d726532928452221003ca40503d2a809ccd747c9f6
April 15, 2015 |
Worth Noting
As the 2016 race heats up, I’m constantly asked who I think the Republican nominee could be. The answer is, I don’t know, and it will be Fall before the field starts to gel as voters get a better sense of which candidates appear to have the chop...

Button karlsbooks 8115560310d99dcf7066a6791c2abb0e6e44efbce9d2a69ac5febbadd06cf979
Button readinglist 0c30cf88cf3c963eb72013f1b5906b6848694ba842d6efa0de8d2d3efbfd8fd2
Button nextapperance d1e601b7044cba97bcfe46cdf8bc572ab09797ca56157b5f533c25051217bb69