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News Release

EBSA News Release: [05/12/2009]
Contact Name: Gloria Della
Phone Number: (202) 693-8664
Release Number: 09-0526-NAT

Statement of U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis following Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees meeting

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after today's Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees meeting:

"Today's report is a wake-up call and reminder of the importance to ensure that this social safety-net is available to all Americans and future generations.

"The high costs for health care are draining the budgets of families, business and government. It is no secret that families are struggling in this economy.

"Last Friday, the unemployment rate increased to 8.9 percent — bringing the total number of jobs lost since this recession began to 5.7 million. And, while we deal with facts and figures, we must remember that behind those numbers are human faces. These are central challenges that we must confront as we seek to lay a new foundation for our economy, create jobs and achieve comprehensive health care reform.

"The rising costs of Medicare highlight the need for comprehensive health care reforms to lower health costs, guarantee choice of doctor and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. These reforms are also necessary to reduce health care costs to employers, leading to more jobs with better pay.

"Health reform is a priority for this administration. The need to reform the health care system is now.

"With regard to social security, the dual effect of the economy and unemployment has produced a downward pressure on the financial security of the program. The economy, however, is showing some improvement. The best thing we can do is to continue our policies to help our economy grow.

"As people return to the workforce, there will be a positive effect on the financial solvency of the trust fund. Investing in our nation's workforce and creating a positive environment for new jobs are critical components of our efforts to get our economy back on the right track.

"This administration believes we must act soon to come up with viable solutions that reverse the immediate and long-term imbalances between the income and costs of the programs.

"By working together, we can find solutions that ensure these programs are sustainable so America's workers can continue to count on them in the future."

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