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Saving, Thompson discuss Medicare

Dr. Thomas Saving, appointed by President Bush to the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security and to the Board of Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds under the Clinton administration, to a gathering of UTC students on the topic of "Medicare: Does it Have a Future?" 

Both he and Dr. Carolyn Thompson, who has held academic positions at the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, the Kennedy-Krieger Institute, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, agreed that UTC students need to vote and hold their representatives accountable for the future of Medicare.

“Don’t let representatives in Washington get away with telling you there is no problem,” Saving said.  “Don’t let representatives in Washington get away with telling you this is a problem in the distant future.  If we continue the current program, there will be problems arising fifteen years from now.  And don’t let representatives in Washington tell you that there is a painless solution to this problem.”

Sponsored by the Scott L. Probasco, Jr. Chair of Free Enterprise, Saving spoke in the Burkett Miller Distinguished Lecture Series, and Thompson provided a critique of Saving’s speech.

Saving is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of both Social Security and Medicare and was invited to give testimony before President Clinton’s National Bipartisan Commission on The Future of Medicare. He has consulted extensively on these issues, including contracts with the American Medical Association and Federal Trade Commission.  He has authored numerous public policy articles that have appeared in the popular press, is both a referee and a member of the editorial board of major U.S. economics journals, and is currently a co-editor of Economic Inquiry and Medicare Reform: Issues and Answers and co-author of The Economics of Medicare Reform.

Saving explained that since the older population traditionally votes, their voices are heard, and their future is secure with Medicare.  “This is about you, your taxes, and your future,” Saving told the students.  “Make sure those people in Washington tell you the truth.  Somehow, young people must get the system changed.”

In her critique of Saving’s presentation, Thompson said Medicare “serves a constituency that votes an astonishingly high rate compared to the rest of the population.  In 2004, more than 73 percent of those between 65 and 74 said they voted, the highest rate for any age group.  In contrast, only 47 percent of people between 18 and 24 reported going to the polls, the lowest of any population cohort.”

“I believe Medicare reform must be part of overall health care reform and it must be bi-partisan, or it will not be enacted,” Thompson said.

October 12, 2006

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