Obama: Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security Make Us 'Free'

January 21, 2013 - 5:20 PM

Inaugural Swearing In

President Barack Obama waves after his speech while Vice President Joe Biden applauds at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama seemed to reject entitlement reform in his second Inaugural address Monday, even saying Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security “free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

“We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit,” Obama said. “But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future for we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.

“We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm,” Obama continued. “The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”

The most recent Congressional Budget Office report said, “Expenditures for each of the three largest entitlement programs were greater than in the same period last year. Outlays for Social Security benefits increased the most—by $12 billion (or 7 percent). Spending for Medicare rose by $6 billion (or 5 percent) and outlays for Medicaid rose by $5 billion (or 8 percent).”

Obama’s own fiscal commission report in 2010 said, “By 2025 revenue will be able to finance only interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Every other federal government activity – from national defense and homeland security to transportation and energy – will have to be paid for with borrowed money.

“Under its extended-baseline scenario, CBO projects that federal health care spending for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the health insurance exchange subsidies will grow from nearly 6 percent of GDP in 2010 to about 10 percent in 2035, and continue to grow thereafter.”

Spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is 10.4 percent of gross domestic product now and will increase 18.2 percent by 2048 without reforms, according to an October 2012 report by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Medicare is the fastest-growing major entitlement, growing 68 percent since 2002. Medicaid grew 38 percent and Social Security 37 percent over the last decade, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid comprise 44 percent of all spending in the federal budget, according to the Heritage Foundation. These programs will eat up all tax revenue by fiscal year 2025. In the past two decades, federal entitlement spending grew by 110 percent.

“All three programs are growing faster than inflation, and—when joined with $1.7 trillion in new Obamacare spending—will drain about 18.5 percent of the nation’s total economic output by mid-century,” the Heritage Foundation report said.