Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prognosis guarded for Medicare and Social Security

Medicare and Social Security - the foundation of a secure retirement - are facing strains from an aging population and an economy that can't seem to get out of low gear.

And despite assertions to the contrary by the Obama administration, the new health care law doesn't improve Medicare's solvency by much.

As the government releases its annual financial checkup Wednesday on the two giant programs that support millions of middle-class retirees, the prognosis is guarded.

Demand for services is going up, and income from payroll taxes can't keep pace. Meanwhile, the government has used trust fund surpluses to pay for other needs, leaving Medicare and Social Security with a pile of IOUs.

Interest in the trustees' report is running high this year because it's expected to delve into the effects of the new federal health care law on Medicare.

The report is being issued by three top administration officials, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. They will be joined by a fourth trustee, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, appointed to a six-year term in 2007 by former President George W. Bush.

But the number-crunching and analysis are done by nonpartisan professionals at the Office of the Actuary, an obscure economic unit in the Health and Human Services Department that has a reputation for independence.

Source and More:

Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage For Dummies
Medicare For The Clueless: The Complete Guide to This Federal Program (The Clueless Guides)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Social Security and Medicare, 2nd Edition

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