House Budget Committee Hearing: Strengthening Health and Retirement Security
Chairman Paul Ryan Opening Remarks, As Prepared for Delivery
Welcome to today’s important hearing examining the structural challenges facing the federal government’s major health and retirement security programs.
We welcome back to the Committee the two foremost experts on the financial crunch facing Medicare and Social Security: the chief actuaries of each program.
We welcome Rick Foster, the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Rick’s nonpartisan analysis is second-to-none in illuminating the challenges in health care and the consequences of trying to squeeze savings from the rather blunt instrument of price controls.
We also welcome Stephen Goss, the chief actuary at the Social Security Administration. Stephen’s analyses should be required reading for policymakers, and we thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to again unpack the facts and share your insights with us today.
For too long, politicians in Washington have not been honest with the American people – seniors in particular – about Medicare and Social Security.
Instead of engaging in an honest debate about the path forward to strengthen these programs, too many have offered little more than false political attacks and trillions of dollars in empty promises.
Today’s hearing is an effort to honestly assess the challenges facing these two programs, providing clarity to Congress as we work to advance sensible reforms and ensure that these critical 20th century programs can fulfill their important mission in the 21st century.
For Social Security:
I thank my colleagues here at the committee for engaging in this spirited debated with mutual respect and a shared commitment to make good on the promise of these critical programs.
We look forward to the testimony of our two esteemed witnesses, but before we do, I would like to yield to Ranking Member Van Hollen for his opening statement.