Medicare under Pressure: The 2009 Medicare Trustees' Report


Although Medicare is facing a rapidly approaching financing crisis of its own, the need to resolve the program’s structural defects has largely been overlooked in the national health reform debate. With the economy in decline, Medicare is in worse fiscal shape than last year. Yet the White House is relying on Medicare to help finance expansions of health insurance for people under age sixty-five. Can Medicare meet its obligations to seniors despite rapidly rising health costs and shrinking revenues? Will Medicare Part A run short of funds as early as 2015?

The annual Medicare trustees’ report, to be released May 12, provides the latest assessment of Medicare’s fiscal future. Richard Foster, Medicare’s chief actuary, will present this year’s findings. James C. Capretta, formerly the top budget official for health at the Office of Management and Budget; Mark McClellan, M.D., former director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; John Rother, a long-time policy expert with AARP; and AEI’s Bill Thomas, former chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, will discuss the policy challenges facing the program. AEI’s Scott Gottlieb, M.D., will moderate.

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