Medicare Spending Gap Falls Again

For quite some time now, the Deficit Hawks in the greater American punditocracy have waved their fear flags about Medicare and how it was going to send the nation down the slippery slope of Greekification.  Better to let each oldster and handicapped person work it out on their own, or depend on relatives or churches, or the side-walks, like the good old days!

Well the latest data shows the worry has been overwhelming their prognostication.  Not that they will stop shrieking of course.  But anyway, here it is:

You’re looking at the biggest story involving the federal budget and a crucial one for the future of the American economy. Every year for the last six years in a row, the Congressional Budget Office has reduced its estimate for how much the federal government will need to spend on Medicare in coming years. The latest reduction came in a report from the budget office on Wednesday morning.

The changes are big. The difference between the current estimate for Medicare’s 2019 budget and the estimate for the 2019 budget four years ago is about $95 billion.

Some of the recent reductions in Medicare spending are because of differences in estimates about the economy and demographics that affect the program.

And some are because of cuts in health care spending passed by Congress. The Affordable Care Act, in particular, made significant reductions to Medicare’s spending on hospitals and private Medicare plans, to help subsidize insurance coverage for low- and middle-income Americans. The Budget Control Act, which Congress passed in 2011, also made some across-the-board cuts to Medicare spending.

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