Can We Afford Medicare? (Brief 4 of 4)
Measuring the contribution that Medicare and Social Security make to seniors is central to the debate over entitlement reforms. Baked into the fabric of the financial status of families, these complicated programs are major determinants of the well-being of older Americans. People count on both in retirement and plan accordingly. Understanding the role that these programs play is essential to understanding the impacts of various reform proposals.
When the question of whether or not we can afford Medicare arises, the challenge often centers on the predicted funding imbalance for Part A of the program over time: revenues are not growing as fast as outlays. But while the authors of this brief agree that it is in the interest of all Americans, young and old, to find ways to reduce health care costs, they conclude that the magnitude of those burdens on the young and the impression that beneficiaries themselves are not paying much toward the costs of their own care are overstated.