Long-Term Health of Social Security/Medicare is Worse


NCPA Experts Available on Newly Released Trustees Report, Disastrous Consequences of Status Quo

DALLAS (March 17, 2003) -- The Social Security Administration today is releasing the annual report from its trustees on the status of the nation's retirement and health programs for seniors. Even though this year's report shows slightly better short-term news, experts from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) say "the long-term prospects for both programs are deteriorating rapidly." NCPA experts are available to discuss the report and the long-term implications of maintaining the status quo. Contact the NCPA Public Affairs office at the number listed above for more information.

"Just like anyone planning for retirement, policy makers should think long-term when discussing the health of Social Security," said Matt Moore, Social Security policy analyst with the NCPA. "This year's trustees report shows that attempting to maintain the status quo is going to be difficult at best, disastrous at worst."

According to the NCPA's analysis of the trustees' report, revenues from the payroll tax that currently support Social Security and Medicare will no longer be sufficient to pay benefits within the next ten years. At that time, the obligations denoted by the programs' Trust Funds will require a shift in tax dollars from other areas of the budget at an accelerating rate. The NCPA pointed to a few key dates:

  • Today: Funds collected for Social Security and Medicare Part A and B are in excess to what is needed to provide benefits. This surplus is equal 2 percent of all federal income tax collections.
  • 2008: The date when the funds will no longer be sufficient and general revenue transfers will be needed to meet the programs' obligations.
  • 2013: 5 percent of all federal income tax receipts will be needed to maintain promised benefits.
  • 2020: 17 percent of all federal income tax receipts will be needed to maintain promised benefits.
  • 2030: 36 percent of all federal income tax receipts will be needed to maintain the status quo.
  • 2040: Two years before the "Social Security Trust Fund" is exhausted under current estimates, these programs will require 47 percent, or nearly half, of all federal income tax receipts.

The NCPA will host a Capitol Hill briefing on the report Tuesday, featuring Social Security and Medicare Trustee Thomas R. Saving. For details, contact the NCPA Public Affairs office at the number listed below or online at http://www.ncpa.org/events/ncpa-briefing-on-2003-social-security-medicare-trustees-report.