Medicare, Medicaid, & Social Security

Medicare, Medicaid, & Social Security

Research

Veronique de Rugy, Jason J. Fichtner | Aug 21, 2014
The recent decline in federal deficits should not create a false sense that the national debt is no longer a clear and present threat. While this improvement may be encouraging, it represents only a temporary respite from the government’s growing fiscal imbalances.
Charles Blahous | Jan 14, 2014
According to a new paper published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the slowdown in health care cost growth is extremely unlikely to solve Medicare’s financing problems. Indeed, such a suggestion primarily reflects an incomplete understanding of how current Medicare cost projections are done.
Laurence Kotlikoff | Dec 12, 2013
Every country faces an intertemporal budget constraint, which requires that its government’s future expenditures, including servicing its outstanding official debt, be covered by its government’s future receipts when measured in present value. The present value difference between a country’s future expenditures and its future receipts is its fiscal gap. The US fiscal gap now stands at $205 trillion. This is 10.3 percent of the estimated present value of all future US GDP. The United States needs to raise taxes, cut spending, or engage in a combination of these policies by an amount equal to 10.3 percent of annual GDP to close its fiscal gap. Closing the gap via raising taxes would require an immediate and permanent 57 percent increase in all federal taxes. Closing the gap via spending cuts (apart from servicing official (debt) would require an immediate and permanent 37 percent reduction in spending. This grave picture of America’s fiscal position effectively constitutes a declaration of bankruptcy.
Charles Blahous | Nov 14, 2013
In a new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Charles P. Blahous, a Mercatus senior research fellow and public trustee for Medicare and Social Security, examines the causes of federal deficits by systematically examining the federal budget itself, quantifying all contributions to the deficit regardless of when they were enacted.
Bruce Yandle | Jun 17, 2013
The US economy is creating new wealth and growing employment, albeit at a slow pace. But uncertainty is the key word that describes the economic situation at mid-2013. There are major unknowns with respect to Fed policy, taxing and spending, the effects of Obamacare on employment, the implementation of Dodd-Frank financial reform, regulatory policy affecting the production of electricity, and the prospects for Europe’s recovery from an extended recession. Add to this pallid picture reductions in growth in China, India, and the developing world taking some of the edge off the global boom, which, in spite of that growth haircut, is still tugging away on America’s export growth.
Daniel Sutter | Mar 21, 2013
Driven by the need to reform unsustainable entitlement programs, policymakers today are looking to the successful example of welfare reform—specifically, to its block grants to states. To inform this discussion, a new Mercatus Center at George Mason University study by Daniel Sutter reviews arguments in the debate over block grants versus matching grants for joint federal-state programs, examines the effects of shifting control of welfare programs to the states, and considers how the lessons from welfare reform can inform the current debate about Medicaid block grants.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

By Jason J. Fichtner, Frederick W. Kilbourne |
Aug 11, 2014

The latest Social Security Trustees’ report shows the projected dates of insolvency for the program’s trust funds remain largely unchanged. Regrettably, some misinterpret this as an indication that Social Security doesn’t require immediate reform. Make no mistake: There is a Social Security crisis.
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Aug 06, 2014

The Medicare report continues to show that program finances are on an unsustainable long-term trajectory largely due to demographic change, placing rising pressure on the federal budget and requiring legislative corrections, despite favorable adjustments to recent and projected rates of Medicare spending growth.
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Aug 04, 2014

Overall, this year’s report shows us a critical year closer to a Social Security financing crisis, with the certainty of its resolution increasingly in doubt.
Jul 31, 2014

The Social Security Trustees have once again sent a clear warning that the Social Security crisis is real, and is here now. We can't afford to wait or to become complacent; doing so will only ensure that the changes necessary to shore up Social Security's retirement and disability programs will be far larger and more difficult than if policy makers made the necessary reforms today.
Jul 28, 2014

The Medicare and Social Security annual report, released today, shows that the insolvency date for the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund is now 2034, one year earlier than estimated in last year’s report, while the insolvency dates for the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund (2016) and the combined trust funds (2033) remain unchanged.
By Keith Hall |
Jul 25, 2014

The labor force participation rate for the prime working-age population — those between 25 and 54 years old — has been declining in the U.S. since 1997. One of the big reasons is a rise in the disability rate, which hit a record 5.2 percent in 2013. Since the start of the Great Recession, the withdrawal rate due to disability has accelerated.

Charts

This chart series includes updated versions of previous Mercatus Center charts presenting the long-term projections for Medicare programs. The first chart compares total Medicare cost projections under a current law assumption with two alternative projections under more realistic baseline assumptions, measured as a percentage of the economy.

Experts

Podcasts

Charles Blahous | August 12, 2014
Charles Blahous discusses Medicare with Larry Kudlow on the John Batchelor Show.

Recent Events

Please join Mercatus Center scholar Dr. Jason Fichtner for lunch and a discussion on ways to help Congress bring fiscal responsibility to Washington by addressing the greatest drivers of future debt: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Books

Joseph Antos, Charles Blahous, Darcy Nikol Bryan , James C. Capretta, Robert Graboyes, Jason J. Fichtner, June O’Neill , Nina Owcharenko , Thomas P. Miller | Apr 08, 2014
Top experts explain everything you wanted to know about Medicaid—from federal-state financing to potential reforms.

Media Clippings

Charles Blahous | Jun 04, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in CQ and also appeared Roll Call.
Jason J. Fichtner | Feb 18, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in MarketWatch.
Jason J. Fichtner | Oct 17, 2013
This excerpt originally appeared in NBC News.
Charles Blahous | Jul 18, 2013
VHHA tried to drive home the point in January with an economic report that projected Virginia would receive $3.9 billion in annual economic benefits and 30,000 jobs, but Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, said the benefits wouldn’t outweigh the expansion in costs.
Charles Blahous | Jun 14, 2013
Although the continuing increase in medical costs plays a role in the growth of Social Security and health care programs, “demographics is the bigger factor, hands down,” said Charles Blahous, a public trustee for the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees.
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