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According to researchers from the Urban Institute, writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, Medicare's purported dire financial condition isn’t actually all that dire.  Given the aging of our population, increases in enrollment have obviously contributed to spending growth. But, according to the Urban Institute, “in recent years "spending growth per enrollee slowed in Medicare and Medicaid, and per-enrollee growth rates in the next decade are projected to be very close to the expected growth in [Gross Domestic Product] per capita.  These data do not support the need for major restructuring of either program.” (emphases added)[1] 

In short, contrary to repeated assertions, Medicare is not broke, going "bankrupt" or running out of funds,[2].  Further, Medicare provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have improved Medicare’s economic outlook − extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by 8 years.[3]

The real problem that needs to be addressed is rising overall health care costs. Overall healthcare expenditures per capita in the United States are higher than in any other country, and show no signs of slowing.[4]  Addressing US health system costs in general is the only real solution to the fiscal issues ahead.  The Affordable Care Act addresses many of these pressing concerns. Let it work.


[1] Holahan, J., McMorrow, S.  Medicare, Medicaid and the Deficit Debate.  Washington DC: Urban Institute, April 2012.  Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, August 2012.
[2] See, e.g., "Medicare is Not Bankrupt" by Paul N. Van de Water, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (April 24, 2012), available at:
[3] See, e.g., CMS Press Release: "Medicare Stable, But Requires Strengthening" (April 23, 2012), available at:
[4] See, e.g. Kaiser family Foundation at   

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