AARP CEO Bill Novelli said the following about President Bush’s 2007 federal budget proposal:
The Administration is right to focus on rising health care costs but this budget tilts too heavily at cost-shifting, not cost-saving.
Spending for Medicare and Medicaid will increase significantly if we fail to act. But, it is uncontrolled costs throughout our health care system—not the impending retirement of the baby boomers—that are the root of our nation’s budgetary challenge.
This budget relies on cutting Medicare and Medicaid, rather than focusing on skyrocketing costs throughout the health care system. Arbitrary caps on Medicare will mean that providers or beneficiaries will have to make up the difference through lower payment rates or higher cost sharing. Over time, this will create a crisis in quality and access to health care for older Americans.
Proposals—such as more funds to improve health information technology and greater efforts at health pricing transparency—that can improve the health care system and help control overall health care costs are positive additions to the Administration’s budget.
The budget also recycles the plan rejected by the American public to carve private accounts out of Social Security. As we saw last year, the more the American public hears about this scheme, the less they like it. We need to focus more on solvency, but private accounts make the long term solvency of Social Security worse, not better.
The Administration’s budget does not recognize the role that revenues play in restoring fiscal restraint and responsibility to our nation’s budget. We urge Congress to maintain federal revenues at a level and path that is commensurate with our national and international commitments.
AARP stands ready to fight to ensure that our 36 million members are protected from harmful policies that will reduce health and economic security.