Today, the Board of Trustees for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds issued their annual report. You can find a summary of the report by clicking here. Bottom line, we are now “broker” than we thought last year.
The Social Security Trust Fund is now expected to go broke in 2033, 3 years sooner than last year’s projection. The Social Security Disability Trust Fund is now expected to go broke in 2016, 2 years sooner than last year’s projection.
Of course, that assumes there is a “Trust Fund”. There isn’t. What there is is a file cabinet somewhere that contains IOU’s issued by the federal government. These IOU’s are called “treasuries”, but they are not. Unlike the treasuries we give to China to pay for our excessive spending, the trust fund IOU’s are non-marketable. China can sell its treasuries to, let’s say, Brazil. The trust fund can only sell its treasuries to the federal government. And, every time it does so, our total government expenditures increase.
On to Medicare…its file cabinet of IOU’s will be depleted in 2024, the same as last year. But before you cheer, read the fine print.
…the Trustees assume an almost 31-percent reduction in Medicare payment rates for physician services will be implemented in 2013 as required by [Obamacare], which is also highly uncertain.
Highly uncertain? Here is what the report has to say about that (at pages 277 and 278),
…the prices paid by Medicare for health services are very likely to fall increasingly short of the costs of providing these services. By the end of the long-range projection period, Medicare prices for hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health, hospice, ambulatory surgical center, diagnostic laboratory, and many other services would be less than half of their level [before Obamacare]. Medicare prices would be considerably below the current relative level of Medicaid prices, which have already led to access problems for Medicaid enrollees, and far below the levels paid by private health insurance. [emphasis supplied]
“Access problems” is government speak for more and more doctors refusing to accept Medicaid.
So now, people are “covered” by Medicaid, but they find fewer and fewer doctors who will accept it. Soon, we will have people “covered” by Medicare, but they will find fewer and fewer doctors who will accept it.
And then, we will have Obamacare…
Meanwhile, from the President and Congress,other than Paul Ryan (R. Wi.), we hear crickets.