Medicare health care program fund to be exhausted by 2026

08 June, 2018, 04:35 | Author: Cassandra Gardner
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is one of the trustees overseeing Medicare

"Lawmakers have a broad continuum of policy options that would close or reduce Social Security's long-term financing shortfall", the report noted.

If present trends continue, the trust funds that pay retirement and disability benefits under the former program will, when taken together, run out in 2034; the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund under the latter will be exhausted in 2026, three years earlier than the trustees forecast last year.

The report said the less favorable outlook for Medicare's hospital trust fund resulted from "adverse changes" in program income and costs.

Medicare Part B premiums - which cover visits to physicians and other outpatient costs - should remain stable next year, the trustees said.

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Medicare Part A's trust fund is funded through payroll taxes, split between employer and employee.

Cubanski said that the Trump administration's effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act's mandate that requires almost everyone be insured is one factor that will lead to higher Medicare hospital fund spending.

Mnuchin said in a statement that there's time to fix the problems.

Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, the trustees had projected the Part A trust fund would run dry this year.

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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.

During the year, an estimated 174 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes on those earnings. Republicans say the programs must be revamped to ensure they will be solvent for baby boomers and their children. The four top officials serve as the Social Security and Medicare trustees, along with two independent trustees who are supposed to represent the public. The ratio of workers to beneficiaries fell to 3.3 in 2005 and then to 2.8 in 2016. The aging population has squeezed the program, pushing costs up and revenues down. The number of Medicare beneficiaries is expected to surge to 89 million in 2040 from 60 million today, according to Medicare actuaries.

Cubanski also said that Americans with higher incomes and more lucrative Social Security benefits will benefit from federal tax cuts that will lower paycheck deductions. The system's costs exceeded its income in 1982, but a bipartisan compromise the following year led to additional revenue and benefit reductions.

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