The Corner

Relax! Medicaid’s Trust Fund Doesn’t Run Out of Money Until 2028!

You may not be interested in the ticking time bomb of entitlements, but the ticking time bomb of entitlements is interested in you.

The new numbers and projections for Social Security and Medicaid are out from the program’s trustees, and the estimated depletion date for Medicaid’s hospital insurance trust fund is now 2028, two years earlier than in last year’s report. In 2015, Medicare covered 55.3 million people.

The trustees dryly note, “As in past years, the trustees have determined that the fund is not adequately financed over the next 10 years. The [hospital insurance] trust fund has not met the Trustees’ formal test of short-range financial adequacy since 2003.”

Our leaders are just going to not think that and hope it gets better by itself, apparently.

For Social Security, the outlook is a little better, but not by much. Costs will exceed income starting in 2020, and “the dollar level of the combined trust fund reserves declines until reserves become depleted in 2034.” Of course, with each passing year, enacting any reform becomes more difficult because more Americans are dependent on the program as it is.  At the end of 2015, the Social Security program paid benefits to about 60 million people: 43 million retired workers and dependents of retired workers, 6 million survivors of deceased workers, and 11 million disabled workers and dependents of disabled workers.

As the Wall Street Journal observes, “The presidential contest so far has focused less on the looming solvency challenges and more on whether to expand Social Security benefits.”

Apparently our leaders aren’t content to just ignore problems; they have to go even further and fantasize about plentiful bounties that don’t exist. 

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