Statement by AARP CEO Bill Novelli in Response to the 2003 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report

Social Security and Medicare remain strong. Social Security benefits are assured until 2042, and Medicare benefits are assured until 2026.

Social Security’s lifelong, inflation- protected benefits will continue to provide financial security even if retirees’ other financial resources diminish. In today’s economic climate, Social Security is more important than ever.

But these solvency projections are not nearly good enough. Congress and the administration should begin planning modernization and improvements now, while both Social Security and Medicare are assured stable funding. The sooner we begin that process, the more moderate and affordable the impact of those changes will be.

Medicare needs, above all, an affordable and meaningful prescription drug benefit. In addition, we should strengthen Medicare by building in coverage for preventive services, chronic care management and provisions to control costs that will help keep the program strong over time.