In his news conference today, President Barack Obama discussed the debt ceiling, the deficit, negotiating with Republicans and paid some attention to entitlements including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Transcript of excerpts:
“[It] is possible for us to construct a package that would be balanced, would share sacrifice, would involve both parties taking on their sacred cows, would involve some meaningful changes to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, that would preserve the integrity of the programs and keep our sacred trust with our seniors but make sure those programs were there for not just this generation but for the next generation.”
“[T]he vast majority of Democrats on Capitol Hill would prefer not to have to do anything on entitlements, would prefer, frankly, not to have to do anything on some of these debt and deficit problems. And I’m sympathetic to their concerns, because they’re looking after folks who are already hurting and already vulnerable and there are a lot of folks out there and seniors who are dependent on some of these programs.
And what I’ve tried to explain to them is, number one, if you look at the numbers, then Medicare, in particular, will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program, no matter how much taxes go up. I mean, it’s not an option for us to just sit by and do nothing.
And if you’re a progressive who cares about the integrity of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, and believes that it is part of what makes our country great, that we look after our seniors and we look after the most vulnerable, then we have an obligation to make sure that we make those changes that are required to make it sustainable over the long term.”