Medicare, Social Security running out of money faster than expected

Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images North America

Chip Somodevilla Getty Images North America

The Social Security program's costs are expected to exceed its income this year, marking the first time that has happened since 1982 and forcing the USA government to dip into the retirement system's trust fund to pay benefits to participants.

Of course, the sobering report has a lot of people nervous. The four top officials serve as the Social Security and Medicare trustees, along with two independent trustees who are supposed to represent the public.

The trustees also found Medicare's hospital insurance fund is on pace to run out in 2026. General revenues will finance roughly three-quarters of SMI costs, and premiums paid by beneficiaries nearly all of the remaining quarter.

The lie has been perpetuated by both parties and has been told so often that most, perhaps even the liars themselves believe it is true.

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But demands on both programs are increasing as America ages.

So the lie continues to be perpetuated.

Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, the trustees had projected the Part A trust fund would run dry this year.

The Trump administration's response, essentially, is to take credit for the booming economy and cite it as a reason not to worry about the two biggest entitlement programs in the federal budget. However, certain long-term issues persist.

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Cubanski said that the Trump administration's effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act's mandate that requires almost everyone be insured is one factor that will lead to higher Medicare hospital fund spending.

Medical costs have long outpaced economic growth, and despite some slowdowns in cost over the past few years, that has not changed. In reality, neither of those solutions could ever come close to closing the gap created by these programs.

Medicare Part B, and D will remain adequately funded "into the indefinite future", the trustees reported, because law provides financing from general revenues and beneficiary premiums each year to meet the next year's expected costs.

CATO scholars have proposed reforms to Medicare that include individual vouchers, personal savings, and consumer choice for healthcare.

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Some 58.4 million Americans depend on Medicare while 62 million receive Social Security benefits (of whom 45 million are retirees, six million are dependents and another 10 million are disabled), according to the government.

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