Programs provide benefits to 1 out of every 6 residents, contribute $64 billion per year to state economy
COLUMBUS, OH- A new report issued today (http://bit.ly/s4htzp) outlines the importance of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to people in Ohio and the state's economy.
The report comes out just as Ohio Senator Rob Portman finishes his work on the congressional Super Committee tasked with reducing the federal deficit. The Committee must recommend at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by November 23. The full Congress must approve these recommendations by the end of the year, or it will trigger automatic deficit reduction.
At an event today, the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans and the Strengthen Social Security campaign unveiled the report detailing the number of Ohio residents who rely on these programs as well as the economic impact and number of jobs in Ohio the programs support.
Although programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are widely scapegoated in federal deficit discussions, today's report points out that they are not the true cause of the deficit. The report notes the large recent run-up in federal deficits resulted largely from 2001 and 2003 tax cuts; unpaid costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; the Great Recession which dramatically reduced tax collections, and the Wall Street bank bailout. Correspondingly, in seeking solutions to the federal deficit, the Super Committee should be looking at its causes and should not be cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which are absolutely vital to the economic security of this nation.Highlights from the new report:
- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spend a total of about $64 billion a year in Ohio, providing benefits to an average of 1 out of every 6 residents for each program.
- Social Security provided benefits to more than 1 in 6 (18.4 percent) residents in 2010, with an average benefit of $13,130 per year.
- Without Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in Ohio would increase from 1 out of 12 (8 percent) to nearly half (46.7 percent) residents.
- Social Security never has and will never contribute to federal budget deficits because, by law, it does not have borrowing authority.
- Medicare spending generally rises less than private health insurance. From 1997 - 2009, Medicare's annual costs per beneficiary rose far less than those of private health insurance. Cutting Medicare's benefits simply shifts costs to the sickest and oldest among us, forcing some seniors and people with disabilities to forego treatment, living shorter, less healthy - and more medically costly - lives as a result.
- Two-thirds of all Medicaid spending is for seniors and people with disabilities. One out of every four (16 million) seniors and people with disabilities depended on Medicaid in 2010.