Medicare @ 50: Sick, getting sicker
The Obama White House's deceptive happy-face spin regarding Medicare trustees' latest annual report reinforces complacency about a program that's failing taxpayers, hospitals, doctors and patients as it turns 50 years old today.
The report says Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will be solvent until 2030 and per-beneficiary spending grew last year at less than half its 2000-10 average rate. But “hospital insurance deficits will hit $110 billion in 2031,” then climb above $1 trillion annually, Investor's Business Daily points out.
And The Washington Free Beacon reminds that total Medicare spending has tripled since 2000 and is projected to more than double by 2024. Plus, the administration's optimism depends on sharp ObamaCare cuts in Medicare provider payments actually happening — which history shows is politically unlikely and about which the report says there's “substantial uncertainty.”
David Hogberg, an analyst for the National Center for Public Policy Research, has documented how Medicare rules and regulations harm patients and doctors in his new book, “Medicare's Victims.” That betrays the original Medicare legislation's prohibition against federal interference in doctor-patient relationships, he reminds.
Mr. Hogberg calls Medicare “a sick program … that needs to be seriously revamped.” And the longer that unjustified optimism about this big-government mess delays reform, the longer that taxpayers, hospitals, doctors and patients will suffer.