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Posted by on Aug 6, 2010 in Health care, Legal, Medicare

Trustees: Improved Medicare Outlook due to PPACA…n’ Other Stuff n’ Junk

Trustees: Improved Medicare Outlook due to PPACA…n’ Other Stuff n’ Junk


The improved outlook for Medicare’s solvency, which increased from 2017 to 2029, is due to PPACA, say Medicare’s trustees* in their newly released summary report (the full report can be found here). The trustees essentially borrowed on the projected savings (or really anticipated cost-cutting measures) from legislated healthcare reform to extend the life of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund specifically.

The life of Medicare’s Part B service, which covers outpatient and prescriptions costs for seniors, was also extended. But the trustees’ current projection on Part B assumes that the SGR-defined cut in Medicare reimbursement to physicians will kick in December 1, reports MedPage Today. The cut now stands at 23%. Congress has repeatedly voted to stall the cut but is yet to repeal the formula; to do so would add substantially to the deficit. (One healthcare expert recently predicted in the NEJM that Congress will never repeal the formula.)

The trustees’ report, in some ways, is a veiled warning to those Republicans (and Republican stateslookin’ at you, Missouri) who would attempt to mess legislatively with PPACA. You repeal PPACA, they might say to detractors, you doom Medicare (and Social Security) to an earlier death.

PPACA = Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; SGR = sustainable growth rate.

* Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury; Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS; Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor; and Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security.

bmartin (1127 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.