Medicare Fund Gets Less Dire Diagnosis

Trustees say it can keep paying benefits until 2026

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 31, 2013 12:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story: Medicare is doing better financially than anyone thought. The main trust fund that funds the healthcare program has announced that it expects to be able to pay full benefits through 2026, two years longer than previously believed, the Wall Street Journal reports. The growth of healthcare costs has slowed significantly, the fund's annual report explains, and the projected spending in some areas, including skilled nursing facilities, has gone down.

But one of the two public Medicare trustees said it would be a "mistake" to view the improvement as "significant," because the projections are such an imprecise art, CNN Money reports. That didn't stop the Obama administration from declaring victory, though; Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the report "demonstrates, once again, the importance of the Affordable Care Act," crediting the law with "reining in healthcare costs."

Medicare's vitals are looking better than expected.
Medicare's vitals are looking better than expected.   (Shutterstock)
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