Senate Republicans demand Medicare plan from Obama

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Republican lawmakers point to a provision in the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act that directs the administration to address the program's solvency when the Medicare Trustees trigger a funding warning, which they did last month for the sixth year in a row. Under the law, the administration has 15 days after submitting the president's budget to Congress to propose solutions to Medicare's fiscal imbalance.

The administration says that it considers the statute to be "advisory and not binding."

"The President has already enacted the Affordable Care Act, which significantly strengthens the life of the Medicare Trust Fund and he's proposed a framework that would do even more to make Medicare even stronger," an administration official told The Hill via e-mail Tuesday. "Additionally, President Bush questioned the constitutionality of requiring the President to submit a separate legislative proposal. We are committed to strengthening Medicare, we’ve taken concrete steps to achieve that goal, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress on this important matter."

The GOP has latched on to the latest projections from the Medicare Trustees, which found that the Medicare hospital insurance trust fund will be insolvent by 2024, to argue that Democrats are failing to meet their obligations to future seniors. House Republicans have proposed a plan to replace Medicare with subsidies for beneficiaries to buy private insurance starting in 2022.

Democrats counter that their healthcare reform law added eight years to the program's solvency and that there's time to get it on a solid fiscal path without a complete overhaul.