Medicare and the Federal Deficit
Anyone following the news, even casually, knows that our federal government is spending vastly more than it is taking in, resulting in huge annual deficits that must be covered by borrowing. We now borrow about 41 cents for every dollar we spend and have reached our legal debt limit of more than $14 trillion, forcing contentious standoffs over raising the debt ceiling. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that our public debt will reach 70 percent of GDP this year and could exceed GDP within a decade – rivaling debt levels last seen during World War II. With Medicare spending accounting for 13 percent of federal spending or 3.7 percent of GDP today and projected to reach about 7 percent of GDP by 2035, this program is a significant contributor to our fiscal woes and an inescapable part of any solution.
Through presentations from three national experts, participants:
- learned how Medicare affects our fiscal outlook
- heard about new data showing the large imbalance between lifetime Medicare benefits and contributions, and
- explored the range of Medicare reform options now under discussion and the political outlook for enacting reforms.