Merry Christmas...and Here's Your Lump of Coal! - U.S. Agency Sends Dire Warning

(St. Paul, Minnesota) - Responding to yesterday's dire warnings about federal spending, Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) says Congress should begin now to take actions that will give the American people a better Christmas gift in 2006.

"In only five years, the cost burden on every American from federal spending obligations has more than doubled. At such a joyous time of year, this is a serious warning that all Americans must heed," said Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

Yesterday, the U.S. Comptroller General warned in a new report:

"The federal government's gross debt [] in the consolidated financial statements was about $8 trillion as of September 30, 2005. This number excludes such items as the gap between the present value of future promised and funded Social Security and Medicare benefits, veterans' health care, and a range of other liabilities (e.g. federal employee and veteran benefits payable), commitments , and contingencies that the federal government has pledged to support.

"Including these items, the federal government's fiscal exposures now total more than $46 trillion, up from about $20 trillion in 2000. This translates into a burden of about $156,000 per American or approximately $375,000 per full-time worker, up from $72,000 and $165,000 respectively, in 2000. These amounts do not include future costs resulting from Hurricane Katrina or the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Continuing on this unsustainable path will gradually erode, if not suddenly damage, our economy, our standard of living, and ultimately our national security..." [our emphasis]

-- FY 2005 Financial Report of the U.S. Government

"Today's promises to expand or protect Medicare far into the future are a national disaster in the making. Such promises only blind the public to the impending dangers of government entitlement programs," Ms. Brase argued.

Better Christmas Gift

Instead, she said, Congress should begin now to consider proposals that:

  • Re-evaluate the Medicare Drug Program
  • Encourage lifelong, private ownership of health insurance
  • Allow free-standing Health Savings Accounts
  • Encourage medical charity

"The best Christmas gift Congress could give the American people this year," said Ms. Brase, "is a promise to begin passing laws next year that will enable most citizens to care for themselves without need of government assistance."

"That promise would be a Christmas gift worth sticking under every Christmas tree," concluded Ms. Brase.

REPORT: www.gao.gov/financial/fy2005financialreport.html

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)
/