Bleak New Outlook for Medicare

It’s worse than we thought: The struggling economy will cause the trust funds that supply Social Security and Medicare to run out earlier than expected, the government reported Friday. The Medicare health-insurance fund will be exhausted in 2024, five years earlier than was reported last year. Last year’s report had said the Medicare fund would be extended to 2029, because of savings in Barack Obama’s health-care plan, but the trustees of the fund cited the poor economy—fewer people working, and continued increases in health-care costs—as the reason the fund would be exhausted sooner. As for Social Security, it will be exhausted in 2036, one year earlier than expected. More than 46 million people are covered by Medicare, while roughly 55 million people receive Social Security benefits.