“Medicare Part A costs started exceeding revenues in 2008.”
“Medicare’s Disability Trust Fund exhausts its assets by 2016.”
“In 2011, Social Security’s cost continued to exceed both the program’s tax income and its non-interest income, a trend that the Trustees project to continue throughout the short-range period and beyond. The 2011 deficit of tax income relative to cost was $148 billion and the projected 2012 deficit is $165 billion.”
These are the numbers we should remember when a politician tells us that any reform would “end Medicare as we know it”. The non-partisan, math-based truth is if we do nothing, as the current administration earnestly wishes from us, then Medicare “as we know it” will change drastically. It will cease to exist.
No responsible person wants that to happen. It Medicare simply implodes under its own bloated mass, it will put hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in a very hard way. There are plans — Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan has the best, from my point of view, but there are others — we could enact right now to keep Medicare up and running for decades. To be sure, we will have to change how it works. We may have to fiddle with the age at which we give benefits or we may have to move some of it to a managed plan with several private insurance options. We may have to raise taxes (though I hope this is the very last thing we have to do). What is sure is we must make some fairly substantial changes and “nothing” is not an acceptable option.