Trustees: Worsening picture for benefit programs

By Stephen Ohlemacher

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 13 2011 11:07 a.m. MDT

Many Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have been adamant that they will not support cuts in Social Security benefits, even if they target future retirees. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged on Thursday that changes to Social Security won't be part of any agreement.

Democrats and Republicans are sparring over how to fix Medicare. House Republicans have passed a plan that would replace Medicare with a voucher-like payment system for future retirees, but GOP leaders in Congress have acknowledged that the plan is unlikely to pass.

Nearly 55 million retirees, disabled people and children who have lost parents receive Social Security benefits, which average $1,077.22 monthly. More than 46 million people are covered by Medicare.

Six trustees oversee Social Security and Medicare, including Geithner, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue.

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