Monday, January 17, 2011

End of Medicare?

Carla Fried asks the provocative question, "Is 2011 The Beginning of the End for Medicare?"

Here is an excerpt:
As the red bars in the chart below show, it is Medicare and Medicaid, not Social Security, that looms as the biggest federal budget buster in terms of its growing demand on federal dollars.

...[T]he bottom line is that all Americans — not just Boomers getting ready to sign up for Medicare — must recognize Medicare is the really big federal deficit elephant in the room. What we're all paying into the system through payroll deductions is in no way close to the amount of Medicare benefits we will consume.

Medicare in its current form is unsustainable. The only real question is whether it will crash-and-burn in a dramatic fashion or whether it will be phased out with a fiscal equivalent of a "controlled landing".

But younger Americans should start planning now for neither Medicare nor Social Security being there when they retire.