Whitehouse, Boyle Legislation to Protect Medicare for Seniors, Make Wealthiest Pay Fair Share Would Extend Solvency Indefinitely

Washington, D.C.—A new estimate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary, released today, finds that the Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act would extend the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund’s solvency indefinitely by making the nation’s highest earners contribute a fairer share.  The legislation, which uses the same Medicare revenue proposals as those included in President Biden’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2024, was originally introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA-02).  The Chief Actuary’s letter was issued in response to a joint request from Senator Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Congressman Boyle, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee.

“Medicare is one of the twin pillars of retirement security in America,” said Senator Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “Seniors have earned these benefits, and future retirees deserve the assurance that they will be able to get the care they need as they age—without bankrupting themselves or their loved ones.  For too long, the ultra-wealthy have exploited loopholes to avoid paying what they owe, and by implementing President Biden’s Medicare revenue proposals, we can unrig our tax code and protect Medicare forever.  Today, I challenge my Republican colleagues to join me in safeguarding Medicare by embracing popular revenue proposals and ensuring our nation’s seniors can retire with dignity.”

“While Republicans in the House continue their efforts to make cuts to Medicare and Social Security, I have always been committed to strengthening these critical programs,” said Congressman Boyle. “I was proud when the Social Security Administration found our legislation would save Social Security, and I’m proud again today with this new analysis showing it shores up Medicare, too. Our bill proves that these earned benefits can be secured without slashing benefits, and while some in Congress remained obsessed with tearing them down, I will keep working to pass this legislation and protect Social Security and Medicare for generations to come.”

Medicare’s hospital insurance benefits, which workers earn by contributing to the program throughout their working lives, ensure that seniors do not become impoverished if they need emergency medical care.  Along with Social Security, Medicare has dramatically lowered the senior poverty rate, enhanced senior citizens’ quality of life, and improved life expectancies, especially for low-income seniors. 

However, as the wealthy have taken advantage of an increasingly rigged tax code and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, Medicare’s long-term finances are in jeopardy.  Beginning in 2031, the program will be able to pay out only an estimated 89 percent of benefits.  At a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Wednesday, September 27, experts will testify that a bipartisan consensus not to cut Medicare benefits necessitates raising revenue to ensure the program’s long-term solvency.

In July, the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary found that the Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act would extend Social Security solvency in perpetuity.  By making the wealthiest earners—just 2% of taxpayers—pay a fairer share, Social Security and Medicare would be protected for all while also addressing rampant inequity in the U.S. tax system.

Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Boyle’s Medicare and Social Security Fair Share Act would:

  • Preserve Medicare and Social Security while safeguarding benefits.
    • Extend both Medicare and Social Security solvency indefinitely.
  • Require taxpayers with over $400,000 in income to contribute a fairer share to Medicare and Social Security.
    • Ensure that no matter the source of their income, high-earning taxpayers contribute 5 percent of their incomes to Medicare.
  • Require taxpayers with incomes above $400,000 to contribute more to Medicare and close a loophole in the law that favors high earners, as proposed by President Biden.
    • Increase the rate for income above $400,000 by 1.2 percent and dedicate the revenue to Medicare.
    • Ensure that wealthy owners of pass-through businesses like hedge funds and private equity firms with more than $400,000 in annual income cannot avoid Medicare taxes.

The bill has been endorsed by: Alliance for Retired Americans; American Federation of Government Employees; American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Teachers; Americans for Tax Fairness; Center for Medicare Advocacy; Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; Communications Workers of America; Doctors for America; Families USA; Groundwork Collaborative; International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers; Main Street Alliance; Mary's Center; National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; National Council on Aging; National Education Association; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; People's Action; Public Citizen; Revolving Door Project; Social Security Works; and the Teamsters.