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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

White House Claims About Medicare-"Illusory"?

The Oklahoman (8/11), commenting on Medicare trustees' annual report last week, editorializes that White House "claims" that the report proves "healthcare reform will save money and make Medicare stronger" are "illusory." The paper says that Medicare's chief actuary, Richard Foster, "who deals with the real world," as opposed to the "one inside Washington's Beltway," wrote that "near term, Obamacare relies on 'unsustainable' reductions in reimbursements to healthcare providers." Long-term, "basic assumptions collapse because reductions in price rates for most service categories probably won't be 'viable.'"
ChiTribune: Medicare Projections Are A "Fiscal Fantasyland." The Chicago Tribune (8/11) editorializes that Medicare's "trustees released a new report last week that said...Medicare had 12 more years to live. That is, the Medicare hospital trust fund would run out of money in 2029 instead of 2017," and "Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner declared that 'the outlook for Medicare has improved substantially because of program changes' made by the new law." But, the Tribune calls the projections a "fiscal fantasyland," and says that the "trustees are required by law to appraise Medicare based on certain assumptions." Meanwhile, Medicare's chief actuary, Richard Foster, has said that "those assumptions...'do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range...or the long range."

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