Medicare trust funds will be insolvent starting 2026

Medicare fund will run out by 2026 trustees say	 	 	 			Christopher Furlong  Getty Images

Entitlement programs create an entitled public.

Here's the problem. There are no such "trust funds". However, the fund for retirees is expected to go broke a year sooner than earlier projections.

For the first time since 1982, U.S. Social Security costs more than the program brings in. Some 45 million retirees and six million dependents receive Social Security benefits.

Those living off of Social Security will not likely be "dancing in the streets" with the anticipated 3% COLA, Johnson said, despite the fact that over the past nine years the COLAs have averaged just 1.2%. Medicare provides health insurance for about 60 million people, most of whom are age 65 or older.

Together, the two programs have been credited with dramatically reducing poverty among older people and extending life expectancy for Americans. That means the government will have to dip into the trust fund to keep paying benefits in full.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin downplayed any pending crisis, although he acknowledged Medicare faces many long-standing economic and demographic challenges. The program's spending, meanwhile, was slightly higher than expected.

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The White House is required by law to tell Congress about how it will ensure Medicare's long-term solvency if official projections show a worsening in the program's long-term financing.

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

"The administration's economic agenda - tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements - will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path", Mnuchin said in a statement.

The report says the other trust fund, which covers Medicare Parts B and D, is expected to be financed through the next 10 years and beyond. Continuing payroll tax revenues to the combined trust funds would be sufficient to cover 79 percent of scheduled benefits starting in 2034.

Costs to the fund will also be slightly higher than last year's estimates, "mostly due to higher-than-expected spending in 2017, legislation that increased hospital spending and higher Medicare Advantage payments", the trust fund report said.

That's what the Social Security and Medicare trustees projected in their 2018 annual report released Tuesday. And the trustees now say that program is going to be insolvent in 2026 - or roughly the same time as we are from the passage of Obamacare.

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