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Best Kept Secret in Washington DC: The Future of Medicare

Here is something I bet you don’t know. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law a bill that wiped out more than $50 trillion in Medicare’s unfunded liability. That’s not a misprint. That’s trillion with a “t.” The savings are almost three times the size of our entire economy. Furthermore, in doing this he also solved the long-term budgetary problem of Medicare. Unless some future Congress and some future president change the law, Medicare’s growth going forward will stay in line with the growth of our economy—ensuring that the program will remain affordable, indefinitely into the future.

This remarkable achievement comes at a price, however. And this is something else I bet you don’t know.

A letter issued by the Medicare Office of the Actuaries at the time Obamacare became law warned that Medicare fees paid to doctors and hospitals will fall increasingly behind what other payers will be paying in future years—threatening access to care and the quality of care available to the elderly and the disabled. That warning was repeated in the latest Medicare Trustees report by Medicare Chief Actuary, Paul Spitalnic.

These comments by the actuaries, however, have been ignored by just about everyone. In the latest Trustees’ report, they appear at the very end—on page 260. If you are a senior, you have to be really, really interested in numbers, tables and actuarial arcana before you’ll ever get to the page where you learn that you may not be able to see a doctor when you need one.

John C. Goodman is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, President of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and author of the widely acclaimed Independent books, A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and the award-winning, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and the National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”

New from John C. Goodman!
A BETTER CHOICE: Healthcare Solutions for America
Obamacare remains highly controversial and faces ongoing legal and political challenges. Polls show that by a large margin Americans remain opposed to the healthcare law and seek to “repeal and replace” it. However, the question is: Replace it with what?

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