Opinion Social Security & Medicare are slowly dying, but no one in Washington will lift a finger

18:29  13 june  2018
18:29  13 june  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

Seniors suffer as Medicare premiums outpace Social Security hikes

  Seniors suffer as Medicare premiums outpace Social Security hikes Social Security can't keep up with the rising cost of Medicare. Here's how that impacts those who receive benefits -- and those who don't.Millions of seniors rely on Medicare to cover their healthcare needs. And while Medicare Part A, which covers hospital visits, is generally free to seniors, Part B, which covers doctor visits and diagnostics, comes at a premium that enrollees must pay.

To Obama, his plan to cut Social Security , Medicare , and Medicaid, so as to fund the Wall Street bailout, was an act of political courage. (In his interview with the Washington Post, he “pledged to expend political capital on the issue.”)

Social Security and Medicare assured the elderly and disabled basic cash income and health care roughly similar to that enjoyed by the rest of the population. They lifted the elderly and disabled from a status of privation to near equality with the nonelderly in both money income and access to health care.

Paul Ryan wearing a suit and tie: House Speaker Paul Ryan © J. Scott Applewhite, AP House Speaker Paul Ryan

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During the 2012 presidential campaign, an infamous TV ad portrayed vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan murdering a grandmother. As she struggled helplessly, terror contorting her face, he coldly rolled her wheelchair to a cliff’s edge and dumped her over. 

Being called a murderer was Ryan’s reward for trying to keep Medicare solvent. He had proposed driving down expenses through market competition, hardly a radical concept in the United States of America. 

Trustees warn Medicare finances are worsening

  Trustees warn Medicare finances are worsening Medicare's financial problems have gotten worse, and Social Security's can't be ignored forever, the government said Tuesday in an annual assessment that amounts to 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 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.

Aiming to reduce spending by .5 trillion over ten years, they will accomplish this by gutting Medicare , Medicaid, and Social Security , breaking one of With no endowment for the arts and the humanities, artistic expression is curtailed and slowly returns to being a privilege of the wealthy.

Medicare spending per person is rising more slowly than spending in the private health sector. Last year, out-of-pocket costs for parts B and D claimed 27 percent of the average Social Security check In Washington , where Medicare is shaping up as a hot issue in the 2012 presidential campaign

Under his plan, the Congressional Budget Office projected that by 2050, federal spending on major health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Obamacare exchange subsidies) would fall from 5 1/2% of gross domestic product in 2010 to 4 3/4% by 2050. Not draconian. 

Without any changes, the CBO projected that spending on those programs would grow to an unsustainable 12 1/4% of GDP by 2050. 

Nobody cared about the numbers. All that mattered was the narrative. “Mitt Romney made his choice,” read the text in the 2012 attack ad. “Now you have to make yours.” 

America chose. 

Poorly. 

The Romney-Ryan defeat in 2012 killed the political viability of entitlement reform. Five years later, the CBO projected that without changes to stem runaway federal health care spending, major health care programs “would account for 40% of federal noninterest spending in 2047, compared with 28% today.” 

Social Security Expected to Dip Into Its Reserves This Year

  Social Security Expected to Dip Into Its Reserves This Year Social Security’s cost will exceed its income this year for the first time since 1982, forcing the program to dip into its nearly $3 trillion trust fund to cover benefits. This is three years sooner than expected a year ago, partly due to lower economic growth projections, according to the latest annual report the trustees of Social Security and Medicare released Tuesday. The program’s income comes from tax revenue and interest from its trust fund.

Democracy Dies in Darkness. Sections. Republicans say scaling back Social Security and Medicare , the largest drivers of future government deficits, is necessary.

Democracy Dies in Darkness. Republicans are openly feuding over whether to seek drastic changes to Medicare , Social Security and other entitlement programs, risking a potentially damaging intraparty battle ahead of the 2016 elections.

Last week, the trustees for Medicare and Social Security issued their annual report on the programs’ finances. They conclude that Medicare will be insolvent by 2026, three years sooner than last projected. 

That’s just eight Star Wars movies from now.

The trustees projected that Social Security will reach insolvency in 2034,16 years from now. The program will begin dipping into its trust fund not in some distant future when our grandchildren are in charge, but this year — right now, on our watch. 

It’s a similar story for the federal debt.

In 2010, federal debt held by the public was 62% of GDP. At the end of 2017, it was 76.5% of GDP. This April, the CBO projected that it would reach 96.2% in 2028

Two days after the CBO made that projection, Ryan, whom the left-leaning Brookings Institution once admiringly called “the most daring budget hawk of his generation,” announced his retirement from Congress

3 awful reasons to take Social Security benefits at 65

  3 awful reasons to take Social Security benefits at 65 Think 65 is the right time for Social Security? Think again.1.

Pryor was tasked with persuading Rand to accept Social Security and Medicare to help with mounting medical expenses. Rand died in 1982, as her admirer Alan Greenspan had begun putting her ideas into practice in Reagan’s administration, making sure, writes Weiss, that the system was “more

In fact, he's exceeded them. The president's budget would spend less on both Medicare and Social Security than Ryan's GOP plan over the next ten years. On Social Security : Ryan didn't cut Social Security by a penny.

As Romney and Ryan predicted, Medicare is headed for insolvency. They weren’t killing it. They were trying to save it from killing itself. It is still slowly killing itself, and Washington is doing nothing to save it.  

Because voters prefer politicians who tell them that no hard choices need ever be made, politicians tell voters that entitlements need never be touched. Republicans only six years ago made entitlement reform and the federal debt two of their core issues. They’ve since adopted the opposition’s position: Pretend the problem doesn’t exist. 

Both parties sell voters a fantasy. 

The Republican fantasy was voiced last week by the Treasury secretary, who said economic growth will generate enough federal revenue to avoid any entitlement cuts or tax increases.

The Democratic fantasy, voiced in reaction to Ryan’s proposals, is that the programs are fine and that all the talk of reform is an evil plot to hurt the poor and help the rich. 

In 2011, Democrats shouted that the Ryan plan would “end,” “kill,” and “terminate” Medicare. Politifact named that obviously false claim “Lie of the Year.”

Alabama state lawmaker arrested over alleged Medicare reimbursement scheme

  Alabama state lawmaker arrested over alleged Medicare reimbursement scheme An Alabama state lawmaker has been charged for his alleged role in a scheme to defraud Medicare and pay kickbacks to a physician's office, federal prosecutors said Thursday. The charges against state Rep. Ed Henry (R) center on his work with a business he owned between 2015 and 2017, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Alabama said.The business, MyPractice24 provided chronic care management services to Medicare recipients who had two or more chronic conditions. Physicians would then pay MyPractice24 a share of the Medicare reimbursements, prosecutors said.

Michael Hurd (www.drhurd.com) is a psychologist in private practice in the Washington , D.C., area. Medicine is slowly evolving into a war of all against all. In the 1990s government controls slowly spread from Medicare to what remained of the “private” sector.

Democracy Dies in Darkness. But 107 House Democrats — more than half the caucus — have signed a letter declaring their “vigorous opposition to cutting Social Security , Medicare or Medicaid benefits.”

Ryan and Romney said if entitlements weren’t fixed, they would drive the federal debt to unsustainable levels. They were right. They lost. No one cared. Selling fantasies gets you elected. Telling the truth gets you nowhere.

That’s the lesson politicians have learned, so the new trustees report was all but ignored. Medicare will be insolvent in eight years, Social Security in 16, and the debt will soon surpass the size of the entire economy. The only politician daring enough to lead a fight to fix all of this is retiring at age 48. 

As the federal government rushes toward financial disaster, the president trades insults with NFL players and the opposition treats every presidential tweet as an existential threat to the republic. 

We delayed dealing with these crises in the hope that they would fall to some future suckers. But we’re the suckers. We believed the lies. All our delays bought us was a bigger crisis — one that’s just a few years away. 

Andrew Cline is president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in New Hampshire.  

House GOP plan would cut Medicare, Social Security to balance budget .
House GOP plan would cut Medicare, Social Security to balance budget The House Budget Committee is aiming to pass the blueprint later this week, but that may be as far as it goes this midterm election year. It’s not clear that GOP leaders will put the document on the House floor for a vote, and even if it were to pass the House, the budget would have little impact on actual spending levels.

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