Medicare’s projected solvency may have been extended two years to 2026, but the consensus among pundits and even Medicare’s Board of Trustees is that it is a best guess based on shaky assumptions.
Medicare’s Trustees last week released projections the federal program’s health and a 75-year outlook. The reaction to the report has been mixed, but as two commentators with divergent viewpoints demonstrate, there are too many changes in the wind that make reasonably accurate predictions impossible.
Lee Goldberg of the National Association of Social Insurance posted a brief analysis on the Health Affairs Blog, and he describes the Trustees report as “good news but should be seen in context.” Goldberg puts into perspective many of the factors that prevent the Trustee’s actuaries from providing hard projections.
Likewise, syndicated columnist Scott Burns calls the report an “involuntary work of fiction,” one the Trustees are required to have produced, but filled with caveats and assumptions.
Both points of view are worth reading, and Burns in particular offers some good advice for Medicare beneficiaries, namely to not put off surgery before 2014 when the ACA changes everything.