1981 Commission Language

This Report is interesting because not only does it recommend returning SSA to its original status as the Social Security Board, but it even recommends returning responsiblity for the Medicare and Medicaid programs to Social Security--a responsibility transferred in 1977 to the recently-created Health Care Financing Administration.

(from pages 305-306 of the printed Report)

Greater Independence for Social Security Programs

Because the National Commission believes that significant improvements in the operation of Social Security and related programs and the public's understanding of those programs would result, it recommends the creation of an independent agency, to be called the Social Security Board. The Board should be responsible for administering the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, the Supplemental Security Income program, and the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The day-today operations of each program should be directed by three career employees--an executive director and two chief operations officers who would report to the executive director. One operations officer would be responsible for the cash benefits programs and the other for the health care programs.

The independent agency the Commission recommends would resemble the original Social Security Board in that it would be governed by a three- or five-member board reporting directly to the President. The Board would be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Not more than two members, in the case of a three-member Board (or three in the case of a five-member Board), at any one time could be members of the same political party. One member would be designated by the President as Chairman and would be appointed for a fixed term which would coincide with the term of the President. The initial appointments would vary so that no more than one term would expire in any calendar year.

Until an independent Board is established, the Commission recommends that Medicare and Medicaid remain under the administration of the Health Care Financing Administration in the Department of Health and Human Services. (A.)

A./ By Mr. Dillman, Mr. Myers, and Mr. Rodgers: We believe that, in the event that the recommendation to establish an independent agency to administer the OASDI and Medicare programs is not followed, then the administration of the Medicare program should be transferred back to the Social Security Administration -- or, at the very least, those functions related to beneficiary contact, actuarial work, and research.