Improving Medicare Financing: Are We Up to the Challenge?

Generations, the Journal of the American Society on Aging: Summer 2015

Medicare enrollment formWhile it is one of the most successful programs of the federal government, achieving nearly universal coverage of healthcare for the most difficult populations to serve, Medicare is nearly always a target of federal budget-cutting efforts. Medicare has been a target because of its size and rate of growth since its inception fifty years ago.

What often is missing from this discussion, says Medicare expert Marilyn Moon, is any serious consideration of increasing funding for the program. Ultimately, Medicare will need more financing unless the program is to face substantial and likely harmful cuts in benefits. In this article, Moon states that we need a thoughtful debate about how to pay for healthcare for older adults and people with disabilities into the future. Who should be responsible for those costs?

Moon, director of AIR's Center on Aging and an AIR Institute Fellow, argues that determining the appropriate balance between revenues and spending needs to be part of the discussion for sustaining Medicare into the future.  Her analysis addresses past and future changes to the program and revenue options.


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