The trustees of the Medicare trust funds say the financial projections in their latest annual report are probably unrealistic.
The Medicare trustees released one report today, and the Social Security trust fund trustees issued a separate report.
The current Medicare boards of trustees are dominated by Obama administration officials such as U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The trustees say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) has strengthened the finances of the Medicare hospital insurance (HI) and supplementary medical insurance trust funds.
But, despite those changes, “the HI trust fund is now estimated to be exhausted in 2024, five years earlier than was shown in last year’s report, and the fund is not adequately financed over the next 10 years,” the trustees warn in the Medicare trustees’ report. “The HI trust fund has not met the trustees’ formal test of short-range financial adequacy since 2003.”
But the trustees concede in the introduction to the report that the finances of the trust fund are looking better partly because the law required the analysts who made the projections used in the report to assume that pending changes in Medicare physician payment rules will take effect on schedule in 2012.
There is a “virtual certainty that Congress will override this reduction,” the trustees say.
The trustees have added alternative illustrations showing what might happen if Congress keeps overriding