Medicare reserves seen lasting three years less than prior forecast

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Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected, the government announced Tuesday. The Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund was projected to have sufficient funds until 2032, four years later than forecast last year.

And for the first time since 1982, Social Security costs will exceed the money being put into it this year. "I will continue to fight for working and middle class families to ensure that their hard-earned benefits are preserved, and to oppose efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare".

More than 60 million Americans benefit from both programs, which provide a guaranteed income and healthcare for many retirees and the disabled.

But in a statement, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the government's economic agenda will generate the long-term growth needed to help stabilize both Medicare and Social Security.

The report did not change its insolvency date for Social Security, projecting it has enough funding until 2034.

At the same time, it said, outlays from Medicare's hospital trust fund "are expected to be higher than last year's estimates due to higher-than-anticipated spending in 2017, legislation that increases hospital spending", and higher payments to private Medicare Advantage plans. CMS is also increasing choice in Medicare Advantage, which will have new benefit choices in 2019.

That was one of the conclusions from an annual report the trustees of the Social Security and Medicare funds released Tuesday.

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But federal deficits keep rising, and the recent Republican tax-cut bill is only expected to add to the debt.

During the year, an estimated 174 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes on those earnings.

Challenges for both programs are exacerbated by the aging of the baby boomer population, without an equivalent proportion of workers available to replace them in the workforce.

Social Security recipients are likely to see a cost-of-living increase of about 2.4 percent next year, said government number-crunchers who produced the report. "Now is the time Congress should prepare for the future, not by threatening workers' benefits, but by expanding Social Security".

Medicare's problems are widely seen as more hard to solve.

Two other Medicare funds - Part B, which covers doctor and outpatient visits and Part D, which covers prescription drugs - are reset each year based on projected costs.

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