On behalf of FreedomWorks activist community, I urge you to contact your representative and senators ask them to co-sponsor the Retirement Freedom Act, H.R. 2108 and S. 1030, introduced by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). The bill would decouple Social Security benefits from Medicare Part A enrollment, allowing individuals if they so choose to to opt out of Medicare Part A without losing access to their Social Security benefits.
Currently, the two programs are coupled by the Social Security Administration, meaning that if a senior can afford his or her own private health insurance and does not wish to accept Medicare Part A insurance, he or she is forced to lose access to Social Security benefits as well. As former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said of the concept when he first introduced the Retirement Freedom Act in 2011, “American seniors should have the freedom to make their own choice about health care without Uncle Sam threatening to take away their Social Security checks.”
At its core, the Retirement Freedom Act is about liberty and individual choice to expand Americans’ ability to make healthcare decisions for themselves free from government overreach. However, it is also a positive step toward reforming our broken entitlement system, which continues to drive our national debt further and further up, to its more than $22 trillion today.
When Medicare began in 1965, mandatory spending at $49.1 billion made up just under 28 percent of the total $178.1 billion federal budget. In 2018, mandatory spending at $2.519 trillion consumed over double that percentage, at 61.3 percent of the $4.107 trillion federal budget. Additionally, according to the latest report from the Medicare Board of Trustees, the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will reach insolvency in 2026, three years earlier than previously projected.
The type of spending we are seeing on both the mandatory and discretionary sides of the federal budget are unsustainable. On the mandatory side, exorbitant spending on Medicare is one of the primary drivers of our debt. By simply allowing individuals who do not want to receive benefits from Medicare Part A to opt out of it, our country can save billions of taxpayer dollars and begin to slow the growth of unchecked entitlement programs that have driven us so deeply into debt.
Enhancing health care freedom and saving taxpayer dollars while taking a much needed step toward Medicare solvency is a common sense measure for our elected officials to enact. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representative and senators and ask them to co-sponsor the Retirement Freedom Act, H.R. 2108 and S. 1030.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks