weekly blog--one for the ages
Michael Hilzik is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who writes a daily blog for the LA Times. In a recent blog, he pointed out a number of glaring oversights regarding the news coverage about the annual trustees’ reports about the future of Social Security and Medicare that were released earlier this week.
According to Hilzik, within moments of their appearance, the Associated Press reported that Medicare was projected to become “insolvent” in 2026, three years earlier than was projected last year. In actuality, the Medicare report projected that its hospital insurance trust fund, which applies to Medicare Part A, would be depleted in 2026, even though the program would be able to keep paying out more than 90% of scheduled benefits.
The bigger news was that the trustees concluded that the policies of congressional Republicans and the Trump White House have damaged the financial prospects of both programs, and that there could be additional funding deficits if the fertility levels stay low.
The bottom line: stabilizing the funding of Social Security and Medicare should be a high priority for Congress to assure working Americans that they will receive the income and health care they need in retirement. The long-run deficit can be eliminated only by putting more money into the system or by cutting benefits. There is no silver bullet.