Trustees report reduced costs, longer Medicare solvency

The Medicare Trustees yesterday projected that the trust fund that finances the nation’s hospital insurance coverage will remain solvent until 2030, four years beyond the date that was projected last year.

Due in part to cost controls implemented in Obama Care, per person spending in the health insurance program administered by the federal government since 1966, is projected to continue to grow slower than the overall economy for the next several years.

“This shows we can tame the debt without breaking Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.” said James J. Devine, a Democratic strategist. “That projected solvency is 13 years later than what was expected the year before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.”

“Contrary to a largely misleading political debate, fueled by ideological messages from dysfunctional Republicans in Congress, Medicare effectively covered 52.3 million Americans at lower cost thanks to Obama Care but we can do better by extending it to everyone.” said Devine.

“The Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund is projected to be solvent for longer, which is good news for beneficiaries and taxpayers,” said Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are taking important steps to improve the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries, while improving Medicare’s long-term solvency,” said Tavenner. “Specifically, we have made major progress in improving patient safety, decreasing hospital re-admissions, and establishing new payment models such as accountable care organizations aimed at reducing costs and improving quality.”

The reforms slowed the rise in spending while improving the quality of health care for beneficiaries, said Tavenner.

A number of factors have contributed to the improved outlook, including lower-than-expected spending in 2013, and lower projected utilization in the types of health care needed by Medicare patients.

Medicare spending per beneficiary has grown quite slowly over the past few years and is projected to continue to grow slowly over the next several years.

During the past four years, per capita Medicare spending growth has averaged 0.8 percent annually, much more slowly than the average 3.1 percent annual increase in per capita GDP and national health expenditures over the same period.

The benefits of this slower growth accrue to both taxpayers and beneficiaries.

For example, although the Part B premium for 2015 will not be determined until later this year, the preliminary estimate in the Report indicates that it will remain unchanged from the 2013 premium for the second consecutive year.

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