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Taxpayer Group Praises Official for Warning about Medicare Drug Program Woes
For Immediate Release March 2, 2007
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) -- On the heels of U.S. Comptroller General David Walker's remarks noting that the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill "is probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s," John Berthoud, President of the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), offered the following statement:
"Taxpayers across the United States are beginning to say 'I told you so,' but that regretful statement won't stem the tide of trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities created by the massive Medicare Prescription Drug Bill.
NTU was opposed to the bill during its original formulation and began tracking its cost during the late 1990s. Just before the bill was narrowly passed in 2003, NTU organized a joint letter with 38 signatory organizations warning of the pending fiscal storm and almost guaranteed cost overruns in this legislation.
The main point of the letter is prescient, given Comptroller Walker's statement. 'On top of large increases in other federal spending, and in light of the coming crisis for Medicare and Social Security, this new prescription drug expenditure would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility,' the letter noted.
Regrettably, lobbyists, unethical legislative threats, and backroom manipulation swayed enough lawmakers to support the bill. Now, Medicare is expected to exhaust its trust fund by 2018, and experts predict that a triple-digit tax increase, massive borrowing, or substantial cuts in benefits will be needed to bring the program back into balance.
Taxpayers saw this fiscal storm brewing on the horizon long before its enactment. The massive unfunded liabilities that lie ahead are a direct result of Washington's desire to court a segment of voters with massive new spending schemes, instead of facilitating private ownership and free choice for all. Perhaps Comptroller Walker's remarks will sound a clarion call to rein in the worst policy mistake in generations."
NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group working for lower taxes and smaller government at all levels. Note: For further information on NTU's work on health care and entitlements, visit www.ntu.org.