Medicare’s Future Looks a Little Better This Year

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Today we get new reports on the health of Social Security and Medicare. Here’s the bottom line on Medicare:

For the 75-year projection period, the HI actuarial deficit has decreased from 1.35 percent of taxable payroll, as shown in last year’s report, to 1.11 percent of taxable payroll. The more favorable outlook is primarily due to (i) lower projected spending….(ii) lower projected Medicare Advantage program costs….and (iii) a refinement in projection methods that reduces assumed per beneficiary cost growth.

I wouldn’t make too much of this, since year-to-year changes are pretty sensitive to economic assumptions and to current law, which can change. In fact, the chart on the right shows just how much future projections rely on planned reductions in the Sustainable Growth Rate formula for payments to doctors, as well as other cost savings mandated by Obamacare. If we stick to our guns on these things, Medicare spending looks fairly restrained in the future. If we don’t, it doesn’t.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

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That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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