Chart: Medicare Insolvency Projections 1980 to 2013

Every year we find out the long-term insolvency projection from the Medicare Trustees, and every year we hear calls from Republicans for major changes and cuts to Medicare in response. So this week we find out that the insolvency projection has been expanded by 2 years to 2026. That’s 13 years until insolvency. That sounds bad right? Well it’s not. The historic average Medicare insolvency projection since 1980 is over 12 years. It’s been as low as 4 years and as high as 28 years during that span. So with the latest report from the Medicare Trustees, we find out the sky is not falling because the program’s insolvency projection is sitting right at it’s 30-year average.

source: Medicare Trustees
source: Congressional Research Service – Report: Medicare: History of Insolvency Projections (PDF)
note: no data available for 1989

It turns out when you have people in government who want to govern instead of obstruct, we are able to fix problems and make programs work. So if Medicare or Social Security insolvency projections are getting tight, then let’s fix the problem. We don’t need draconian cuts to benefits. We need sensible and honest cuts in waste and increases in revenue. That’s how you govern. And that’s how Medicare and Social Security have lasted for as long as they have. And that’s why you should ignore Republican “entitlement” hyperbole.

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  • matthewhubbard

    Mr. Sutton, is there a similar chart for Social Security insolvency?

    • I don’t have the data right now, but I’ll locate it and put together a chart in a future post. I know Social Security’s current insolvency projection is more than double Medicare, but I don’t know how that compares to it’s historic average.

      • matthewhubbard

        Thanks. I have a blog called “This Day In Science Fiction” where I look at prognostications whose predictions are now in the past or in the very near future. It’s a misnomer to call predictions link these sci-fi, of course, but that hasn’t stopped me in the past. I love a prediction with a date on it, and gladly publish them every day.