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OMB Letterhead

March 25, 2008
Contact: OMB Communications, 202-395-7254

Trustees Report Reaffirms Medicare Facing Oncoming Fiscal Train Wreck
Congressional Democrats Should Use Budget Resolution to Help Change Course

Washington, DC — OMB Director Jim Nussle commented on the annual report issued today by the Trustees of the Medicare program.

“The Trustees report yet again triggers a funding warning in Medicare – signaling the program is in serious straits as it faces a $36 trillion unfunded obligation.

“In each of the last three years, the President has proposed responsible steps to slow the growth rate in Medicare – offering a more aggressive proposal each year to reflect the growing magnitude of the problem.

“In each of those years, the Trustees have provided a sober warning. Each year, the President proposed action and Congress proclaimed action was needed.  And each year, nothing was done.

“It is disappointing that Congressional Democrats have once again chosen to ignore entitlements in their budgets. Inaction is irresponsible. But there is still an opportunity during budget negotiations for the House and Senate to help prevent this oncoming fiscal train wreck. I urge lawmakers to act now for the sake of future generations.”

Note:  The President’s FY09 Budget proposal would take the growth in Medicare spending from a rate of 7.2 percent to 5 percent. Over 75 years, this step would reduce the $36 trillion unfunded obligation in the program by nearly thirty percent.