"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget. It is a privilege to serve as your Representative in Congress. I welcome your thoughts on this critical issue. As you know, the national debt of the United States has already surpassed $14 trillion, which is equal to $125,000 for every taxpayer. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects this year’s deficit to be at least $1.6 trillion. No matter how you look at these numbers, it is clear they paint a picture of an unsustainable financial future. Although Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone did not create this debt problem, they are the lead drivers of the ever-growing federal deficit. It’s time for Congress to enact common sense solutions so our future generations do not drown in debt. The chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, released his FY 2012 budget on April 5, 2011. Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” reduces spending by returning government agency budgets to pre-2008 levels, reforming agricultural subsidies, shrinking the federal workforce, and targeting inefficiencies at the Pentagon. It also overhauls the outdated tax code by consolidating tax brackets, lowering tax rates, and clearing burdensome deductions and loopholes that allow some corporations to pay no income tax at all. In this budget, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, which consume around 40% of the total federal budget, are rescued from bankruptcy to preserve their benefits for future generations. Federal funding for Medicaid is converted into block grants for the states, which will have the flexibility and incentive to help people out of welfare and into a job. Congress has, for decades, raided the Social Security Trust Fund for money, leaving a program projected to benefit 70 million people by 2030 dangerously underfunded. According to the 2008 Social Security Trustees Report, the Social Security Trust Fund will become insolvent by 2041, threatening the livelihood of millions of current and future beneficiaries. Perhaps the fastest contributor of future debt is Medicare. As your Congresswoman, I believe you have the right to know the facts when it comes to the future of Medicare. The fact is Medicare as we know it will be bankrupt in just nine years. The blank-check system in Medicare, in which the government pays most costs with no incentive to save or be efficient, threatens the solvency of this critical program. Currently more than $50 billion a year is wasted in Medicare due to waste and fraud. Although Democrats in the 111th Congress attempted to make health care reform look deficit neutral by raiding $500 billion from Medicare, it is clear that its costs will run into the trillions over the next decade. Not making changes to Medicare has real consequences for seniors as doctors are already limiting the Medicare patients they accept or are not accepting new Medicare patients at all. We cannot forget the role that the newest entitlement, ObamaCare, will play in growing our federal debt. Reducing our bulging debt will require a rollback and defunding of ObamaCare before it inflates our deficit even further. Our seniors deserve greater dignity through a stronger Medicare system, not delays. We need to preserve the program exactly as promised for today’s seniors, and strengthen it for the next generation of Americans so it is there when they need it. Under the FY 2012 budget plan, starting in 2022 new Medicare beneficiaries will, just like Members of Congress, be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. Medicare will subsidize premium payments to the plan chosen by the beneficiary. This plan will also provide more assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks. It is important to know the Medicare program would not change for those currently on the program or for those soon to be on it. No changes will be made for Americans 55 years of age and older. All together this plan will help save $6.2 trillion over the next ten years by significantly reducing the annual deficit. This will be a critical step to put America back to the path of fiscal responsibility. At a time when real leadership is required to preserve these programs, the President has been silent. It’s time for Congress to do what we’re supposed to do, not what’s easy to do. I will support bold efforts to tackle our massive, $14 trillion debt with meaningful reforms, while preserving Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for our future generations. We must enact this bold vision today so our children and grandchildren will have a future filled with opportunity and security, not a future full of debt, doubt and despair. Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me on this matter. I look forward to communicating with you in the future as I serve the people of the Second District of North Carolina. If you would be interested in receiving my e-newsletter, or for other information, please visit my website at www.ellmers.house.gov to sign up or contact me. Sincerely, Renee Ellmers
Member of Congress