U.S. Medicare reserves seen lasting three years less than prior forecast

More than 62 million retirees disabled workers spouses and surviving children receive Social Security benefits

More than 62 million retirees disabled workers spouses and surviving children receive Social Security benefits. Associated Press Patrick Semansky

The problems in the entitlement programs only add to those woes.

Here's the problem. There are no such "trust funds". For example, fewer new disability claims have been registered in recent years than previously expected, so the Social Security trust fund for that portion of the program will not be depleted until 2032, rather than 2028. Stores for the retirement program will be exhausted a year earlier, though, in 2034.

More than 62 million retirees, disabled workers, spouses and surviving children receive Social Security benefits. Medicare provides health insurance for about 60 million people, most of whom are age 65 or older.

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The trustees also noted that the gap between Social Security's costs and revenues over the next 75 years is equal to $12.5 trillion, up from $11.4 trillion in 2016. Nor has he endorsed higher taxes to finance the programs, as some Democrats have suggested.

The White House is required by law to tell Congress about how it will ensure Medicare's long-term solvency if official projections show a worsening in the program's long-term financing. The U.S.is now closer to the insolvency of the Social Security than to the attacks of September 11. Mnuchin is one of the trustees of Social Security and Medicare, a group that includes three Trump Cabinet officers and that released the annual report.

Meanwhile, Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund is expected to run dry in 2026, three years earlier than what the trustees had predicted in last year's report.

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Despite looming shortfalls, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said accelerated economic growth under the current administration would help to bolster both programs' coffers in the coming years. Medicare "is on track to meet its obligations to beneficiaries well into the next decade". However, certain long-term issues persist.

"When Congressional Republicans sold their tax scam to the American people they left out the fact that while the windfalls mostly line the pockets of corporations and the wealthy, the deficits they used to pay for them will fuel their threats to cut Social Security". Charles Schumer of NY, the Democratic leader.

"Our estimate could change, because we still have several months of CPI data to go before the COLA is announced in October", Mary Johnson, The Senior Citizens League's Social Security policy analyst, said in a statement.

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Medicare's problems are widely seen as more hard to solve. In our aging society, all of that will have to occur in the context of a growing ratio between retirees and the working-age population. About a quarter of Part B costs are paid for by beneficiary premiums with the rest from the federal budget.

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