J.D. Foster: The Good News in the Medicare Trustees Report

The release of the annual Medicare trustees report in late April, containing as it did a vast array of very bad news, was immediately greeted with valid dire warnings of fiscal disaster.  Little noticed, however, were three important bits of good news: the inevitability of imminent action; a simple key hidden in the report for understanding Medicare’s fiscal problem; and a proven bipartisan solution.

To be sure, the trustees report provided a wealth of bad news about the program’s finances. The key facts:

  • Part A, the Hospital Insurance (HI) program, ran a cash deficit in 2011 of almost $28 billion, and the Medicare Trust Fund is projected to be insolvent in about 12 years.
  • Medicare has an unfunded obligation of $42.7 trillion.

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