Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Combined Debt Per U.S. Household for Medicare and Social Security: $395,900

If that was a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly payment would be about $2,000 at today's current (low) interest rates.

Add in the federal debt, military retirement/disability benefits, federal employee retirement benefits, and state/local government obligations and the total debt rises to $575,800 - or a monthly mortgage payment of over $2,900.

Chew on that for a minute. Then consider that what that payment might be once interest rates necessarily skyrocket due to QE-1, QE-2, and QE-Whatever.

Dennis Cauchon at USA Today breaks it down:
Medicare: $24.8 trillion; Obligation per household: $212,500

The health insurance program for seniors is the nation's biggest financial challenge.

The first of 77 million Baby Boomers turn 65 this year and qualify for Medicare. Enrollment will grow from 48 million in 2010 to 64 million in 2020 and 81 million in 2030, according to Medicare actuaries. That 33-million increase in the next 20 years compares with 13 million in the last 20.

This demographic burst — combined with the addition of a prescription drug benefit in 2006 and rising health care costs generally — has created an unfunded liability of nearly $25 trillion over the lifetime of those now in the program as workers and retirees. That is the taxpayers' obligation, beyond what Medicare taxes will bring in or seniors will pay in premiums for Medicare Part B — also called supplemental coverage — that helps pay for doctor visits and other expenses outside the hospital.

That $25 trillion is likely an underestimate, Medicare's actuaries say, because it counts on 165 cost-saving changes in the health care reform law. Many of these are unlikely to occur — such as cutting physician payments 30% by 2012.

Even with savings, Medicare's financial hole grew $1.8 trillion last year, more than the federal deficit. One bit of good news: The prescription drug benefit is now projected to be underfunded by $5.3 trillion, less than the original projection in 2005 of $6.7 trillion. Reason: smaller drug price increase and increased use of cheaper generic drugs.

Republicans and Democrats have different approaches to saving Medicare's finances. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has proposed giving seniors a fixed amount to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance. President Obama and other Democrats propose better management, smarter treatment choices and other strategies to bring U.S. health care costs in line with what other industrialized countries spend.

Spending on Medicare is set to increase from $523 billion last year to $676 billion in 2015 and $861 billion in 2020.
What? The Democrats have a proposal to reform Medicare? When did this happen? I can't seem to find it anywhere. Wait, is this it?


Still looking.

Read the rest.

h/t: Amanda Carpenter's invaluable Twitter feed that everyone should be following.


1 comment:

fiatlux said...

This cannot be true!

The government sends me a nice little update on what I paid in FICA and Medicare. They assure me that the $600,000 in payroll taxes taken from me and my employers since 1968 is right there ready to be given back to me at the rate of almost $3,900 per month plus super cheap, super high quality medical care for life if I just hold on another decade or so.

Meanwhile, I get to pay in another couple hundred grand (self employed, wife working)  to further take advantage of the astounding investment capabilities of Timmy Geitner and his pals.