Medicare finances are worsening, trustees say


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected, and Social Security’s financial problems can’t be ignored, either, the government said Tuesday in a sobering checkup on programs vital to the middle class.

The report from program trustees says Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 – three years earlier than previously forecast. Its giant trust fund for inpatient care won’t be able to fully cover projected medical bills starting at that point.

The report says Social Security will become insolvent in 2034 – no change from the projection last year.

The warning serves as a reminder of major issues left to languish while Washington plunges deeper into partisan strife. Because of the deterioration in Medicare’s finances, officials said the Trump administration will be required by law to send Congress a plan next year to address the problems, after the president’s budget is submitted.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said there’s time to fix the problems. “The programs remain secure,” Mnuchin said. Medicare “is on track to meet its obligations to beneficiaries well into the next decade.”

“However, certain long-term issues persist,” the statement added. “Lack-luster economic growth in previous years, coupled with an aging population, has contributed to the projected shortages for both Social Security and Medicare.”

Social Security recipients are likely to see a cost-of-living increase of about 2.4 percent next year, said government number-crunchers who produced the report. That works out to about $31 a month.

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