What editorial writers are saying about the Medicare trustees report
■ The Obama administration has touted the report as proof that the health system overhaul is helping Medicare's finances.
Posted Aug. 30, 2010.
Trustees extended the Medicare hospital trust fund insolvency date to 2029, 12 years later than estimated last year, but some are questioning the report's findings.
Actuary exposes Medicare flimflam
The best part of the annual trustees' report on the solvency of Medicare is the three pages at the end. That's when Medicare's chief actuary adds a "statement of actuarial opinion" that translates as: The preceding 280 pages are malarkey. Credit Richard Foster for shooting straight with the public. Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, Aug. 16
For Medicare's sake, stick to health reform plan
The Medicare program known as Part A is funded by payroll taxes and pays for seniors' hospital care. The Medicare trustees have long warned it's in financial trouble, reaching insolvency as soon as 2017. But this year's report ... notes the program "is substantially improved by the lower expenditures and additional tax revenues instituted by the Affordable Care Act." Des Moines Register, Aug. 11
The government should look at payment systems that reward better care instead of more services, incentives that promote more cost-effective therapies and greater competition to hold down prices, among other changes. And eventually, the discussion has to turn to difficult questions about what level of care people need and how to pay for those services. (Riverside, Calif.) Press-Enterprise, Aug. 9
Medicare's rosy health
Never mind about the rosy projections on the previous 280-plus pages. It's fiscal fantasyland. The trustees are required by law to appraise Medicare based on certain assumptions. But they bear little resemblance to the real world in doctor's offices and hospitals. Chicago Tribune, Aug. 10
Without health care reform, Medicare's future looks grim
If the Medicare trustees had an accurate crystal ball, the hospital trust fund would have gone bankrupt in 2001, as they estimated in 1996. Or in 2002, as they predicted in 1992. Or in 2003, as they estimated in 1990. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aug. 12
The latest on Medicare and Social Security
The trustees stressed that the improvement in Medicare depends on how effectively the new health care reform law is implemented. For instance, the law envisions paying doctors based on quality and efficiency of treatments, rather than on the number of visits or procedures. As that transition occurs, will Congress resist the inevitable outcry? New York Times, Aug. 9