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Government and Politics


Ohio's senators have different reads on Social Security, Medicare report
Reports reflects a longer life for Medicare, largely because of Obamacare, but projects problems come the 2030s for Social Security and Medicare
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


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M.L. Schultze
 
Brown cites a better picture for Medicare; Portman a trouble projection for Social Security.
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In The Region:

The annual report on the financial health of Social Security and Medicare came out this week. And Ohio’s U.S. senators had some vastly different takes on it. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the points of view of Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman.

LISTEN: Brown and Portman on the report's bottom line

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The report says Medicare’s in significantly better shape largely because of the Affordable Care Act. 

And that part was celebrated by Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and big backer of Obamacare.  He estimated 600,000 more Ohioans have insurance now and, “The life expectancy of Medicare is now officially longer than was expected because of cost savings in the Affordable Care Act and the contribution that makes to strengthening Medicare. So all that is good news, not surprising, but emphatically good news.” 

Still the new report estimates Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund will run out by 2030 – four years later than was anticipated.

And Social Security is estimated to run out in 2033. That remains a big concern for Republican Rob Portman. 

“If we don’t make changes within the life time of people retiring today, 1) you’ll see the Social Security trust fund go insolvent, which means there will be a substantial cut in benefits under law. We need to make some changes and improve the financial viability of these programs as soon as possible.” 

Brown, like Portman, says Social Security may need some changes, but they differ on how extensive those changes should be.

Together, the two programs account for about 40 percent of federal spending.

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