US: Medicare To Hit Financial Woes Sooner Than Expected

Two of the government's most popular programs for the elderly, Medicare and Social Security, will run out of money sooner than thought earlier as a slow-growing economy saps revenues, a report Friday said.

Trustees for the two funds said the Medicare trust fund is projected to exhaust its funds in 2024, not 2029 as estimated last year, and that the Social Security retirement program will run out of money in 2036, not 2037 as previously thought.

The latest projections hit in the middle of an intense debate between the Obama administration and opposition Republicans about how to rein in the nation's runaway debt, set to hit the legal limit of $14.3 trillion on Monday.

Whether the two costly entitlement programs should be on the table has been an intense subject of debate.

Ahead of the report's release, Representative Xavier Becerra, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, said he expected it to show that slow economic growth has hit everyone hard, including Social Security.

But he said program, which was providing benefits to nearly 60 million Americans at the end of last year, should not be brought into the current debate over the deficit.

"There is a growing consensus that Social Security has never contributed a penny to national debt and is not an appropriate target for deficit reduction," he said in an interview.

So far, Social Security appears to be off the table in the budget talks. But Republicans in the House are pushing to overhaul the Medicare healthcare program for future retirees. Their proposal would give the elderly a federal subsidy to purchase medical coverage from private insurers.

Republicans argue the change is needed because a recent analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows the trust fund will be depleted in nine years.

Michelle Dimarob, spokeswoman for Republican Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, anticipated the trustees' report would show the recession putting a strain on the finances of both programs.

"We have got to demonstrate that we are serious about shoring up these entitlement programs," she said.

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  • by Investigate Location: Greenville on May 15, 2011 at 05:59 AM
    This is a problem that needs more investigation. Use some of the money and manpower to investigate people who receive these funds. People are TAUGHT and KNOW how to fraud the system, they use multiple addresses, etc and have multiple checks coming in. This is hard to believe but my husband was actually invited to a "seminar" (if you want to call it that) being held at a CHURCH that taught you how to benefit from our governments system. These things are kept quiet and if anyone besides invited guests show up then it appears to be a regular church service. Of course he DID NOT attend and yes, we are white, however the inviting party was not.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 15, 2011 at 07:15 AM in reply to Investigate
      Why does it matter that you are white and the inviting party was not?
      • reply
        by Investigate on May 15, 2011 at 01:17 PM in reply to
        Guess it really doesn't...but I have to ask you, why are you more worried about that than you are people learning in GROUPS how to take YOUR tax money? Which by the way some of us will NEVER see any in the years to come!!!!!!!!!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 15, 2011 at 03:41 PM in reply to Investigate
          It was just a casual observation. Of course it is troubling when people are being openly taught how to cheat the system. All it takes is one person with the guts to report it and then a proper enforcement of the law to prevent it from happening again. I hope your husband did his part and reported this to the proper authorities, else he is just as much a part of the problem as these troublemakers.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on May 15, 2011 at 05:10 AM
    Here's the headline I'd like to see: 'US Federal Governmental staff unanimously vote a 50% cut in salaried personnel making more than $100,000 per year'.
  • by Harry on May 15, 2011 at 05:01 AM
    If you go to the Social Security Finance Center in West "by God" Virginia you can find a vault where they have "Trillions of Dollars" stashed in file cabinet after file cabinet in the form of US Treasury Bonds. Open those files cabinets and you find US issued bonds. Since the mid 60's Congress has authorized taking Social Security Funds and handing the Administrators at Social Security worthless pieces of paper called bonds. On paper Social Security is flush with cash. But what happens when Social Security starts cashing those bonds? Of course Congress has to allow Social Security Administrators to redeem those bonds. When will that start happening? Socials Security was based on the model that five or six children would pay into the system while Daddy lived a few years after having to retire. Today not only does Daddy draw Social Security, Mom draws a Survivor Benefit. Daddy instead of dying within a couple of years as planned by Congress is living twenty to thirty years or more after retiring. Mom and Dad limited their family to one or two children in an effort to insure they could provide financial support for their family. All the time Congress was adding more beneficiaries, pilfering the actual money to spend by issuing bonds they never intended to allow to be redeemed, and perpetuating the penultimate pyramid scheme on the public. Hmmmm! Obama Care and Death Panels may have a more sinister secret than imagined. After all, the sooner you can plant Mom and Dad in the ground, the less impact they have on the dwindling Social Security System.
  • by Sam Location: Sacramento Ca. on May 14, 2011 at 05:00 PM
    What happened to the MILLIONS that were in Social Security when Ronald Reagan took office?
  • by Anonymous on May 14, 2011 at 04:18 PM
    Better get serious and save what you can while you can. With $375,000.00 at 58, wonder how much I can afford to NOT keep in stocks. Am dropping to 67% stock from 78% stock on Monday. Don't depend on the government. They're still printing money.
    • reply
      by Barlow on May 14, 2011 at 06:25 PM in reply to
      If I were you I'd put it in my mattress
      • reply
        by Anonymous on May 14, 2011 at 08:57 PM in reply to Barlow
        Pretty much did before the '08 market crash. Now, got to keep up with inflation because they are printing so much money and making it worth less (inflation). Actual inflation is higher than they say it is. Look at food and gas prices.
        • reply
          by Harry on May 15, 2011 at 04:43 AM in reply to
          Putting US Currency in the mattress is futile. You put in $100.00 today and Obama's inflated dollars next year will leave you holding $900.00 or less. Only thing you can do is buy gold, or if like many wage earners silver.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 15, 2011 at 06:58 AM in reply to
          Should have been $90.00.
  • by Joe on May 14, 2011 at 03:51 PM
    Way to go 250 and WB! I know people getting disability ss check every month and working for cash money every day. Running heavy equip,fishing, crabing,roofing building, mowing yards,carpenter work, vol firefighter, vol first responder you name it, they can't be diable and do that type of work.They taking ss illegal when they could be trained and put back to work paying in ss. As for medicaid do away with it. I worked and took care of my family they can do the same.
  • by Duh on May 14, 2011 at 12:48 PM
    People can scream for tax hikes on the rich all they want, but the problem of Medicare and Social Security being funded must be addressed by the root problem: government taking money out of the funds of these programs to supply other programs. Nothing is more important than to provide the most basic needs of the citizens of this nation and ensure safety (defense), health (Medicaid/care, VA), financial well-being (Social Security), Infrastructure (highways,communications, air travel) and Trade and Foreign relations. Everything else that is not directly related to the upkeep of these 5 things should be cut and laws should be put in place to prevent politicians stealing from these funds to pay for pet projects.
  • by Anonymous on May 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM
    It is no wonder, children with even mild autism and totally functioning, get SS disability check, children with reading disorder, get SS disability check. Some parents fight to get their children declared autistic so they get a nice check every month.
  • by pete Location: grifton on May 14, 2011 at 11:58 AM
    OH! one more thing.this world will be lucky to survive 3 more years much less 23 more years.pray and get in church.
  • by pete Location: grifton on May 14, 2011 at 11:55 AM
    You people have to ignorant or joking.most people on medicare are on their way out of this life,medicade is another problem they get everything out of their name then stick it to the taxpayer,while alot of them kick back and sell the food stamps to keep the baby daddy in beer.You want to go after somebody then check out and see what the millionair farmers are raking in their coffers.
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