Monday, 24 September, 2018

Medicare to Become Insolvent In 8 Years, Social Security in 16

Medicare fund will run out by 2026 trustees say	 	 	 			Christopher Furlong  Getty Images Medicare fund will run out by 2026 trustees say Christopher Furlong Getty Images
Samantha Long | 10 June, 2018, 08:28

The solvency of the Medicare trust fund, the main USA public health insurance program, deteriorated over the last year and could be exhausted by 2026 - two years earlier than previously estimated.

The trustees also annually weigh in on the solvency of Social Security, whose total cost is projected to exceed total income this year for the first time since 1982.

The good news is, Social Security isn't projected to run short of funds any sooner than it was a year ago. At that point the program would only be able to pay out 91% of promised benefits.

"As in past years, the Trustees have determined that the fund is not adequately financed over the next 10 years", the report said.

Mnuchin said in a statement that there's time to fix the problems. It will decline further to about 2.2 by 2035, when most baby boomers will have retired, officials said.

Once the funds are depleted, beneficiaries of the program will receive only three-quarters of their scheduled benefits. Medicare spent $710 billion in 2017, according to the report, making it the single biggest purchaser of health services in the U.S. The trustees include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. About a quarter of Part B costs are paid for by beneficiary premiums with the rest from the federal budget.

Social Security recipients are likely to see a cost-of-living increase of about 2.4 percent next year, said government number-crunchers who produced the report.

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The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare advocacy group responded to the report by urging the Trump administration to allow the program to negotiate prices with drugmakers.

Democrats, meanwhile, want to extend the social safety net by spending more on health care and education.

The Congressional Budget Office said in April that federal deficits and debt would soar in the coming decade, after passage of the tax overhaul and legislation to increase military and domestic spending. Government economic experts who briefed reporters Tuesday said the tax bill and other recent legislative changes from Congress on balance worsened the condition of both programs.

In principle, the U.S.is supposed to be paying forward its Social Security and Medicare obligations by building up trust funds to cover future costs.

The trustees said this is the third year in a row that the near-term disability cost outlook significantly improved.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has always been an advocate for overhauling the programs, introducing a voucher-like system for Medicare and calling for partially privatizing Social Security.

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