Medicare, Medicaid, & Social Security

Medicare, Medicaid, & Social Security

Research

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.
Charles Blahous | Mar 05, 2013
In the wake of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling, states face complex decisions concerning whether to expand Medicaid coverage to the full extent envisioned in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare). With the federal government no longer able to coerce expansion, states must base their decisions on value judgments that incorporate each state’s unique budgetary circumstances, the needs of its uninsured population, and the incentives established by interactions among the ACA’s provisions.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Apr 22, 2014

The Mercatus Center’s Charles Blahous will serve as a co-commissioner on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) newly established Personal Savings Initiative, which aims to examine “whether savings rates and available savings vehicles are meeting the retirement goals of Americans and the nation's investment needs.”…
Apr 11, 2014

States should be wary of the impact the expansion will have on their state budgets when the expansion is perceived as permanent, but the federal aid turns out to be temporary.
e21
Apr 09, 2014

Our national dialogue over federal policy suffers from a huge information gap when it comes to understanding the federal budget. This information gap afflicts not only the general public as well as press, but much of Washington’s policy insider community. From the very start of my eleven years as Senate staff, I quickly learned that if one can master Congress’s arcane budget rules, one will command knowledge that even many legislators lack. To put it bluntly, far too few people understand how the federal budget works, how budget-related legislative procedures work, and how scorekeeping works. This article represents an effort to fill in some of that information gap.
Apr 07, 2014

As a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in California, I have long been concerned with the failings of programs intended to help women in need access quality health care. I am increasingly concerned that the expansion of Medicaid through the new health care law, known as Obamacare, will exacerbate the system’s existing problems, and make it even more difficult to obtain medical care at reasonable rates as the strain on the program grows.
Mar 03, 2014

Below, scholars with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University—the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas—look ahead to key policy areas the president will likely focus on in his 2015 budget submission.
Feb 21, 2014

The budget that America needs — versus the more likely budget shaped by concurrent political forces — are two very different things. As we prepare to receive and evaluate President Obama’s next submitted budget, it is worth knowing what a set of budget proposals would look like if focused on solving our escalating fiscal problems.

Charts

This chart uses data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to show the growth in national health expenditures (NHE) after adjusting for inflation and population. The data show an up-and-down trend, leading to uncertainty over the growth in national health expenditures.

Experts

Podcasts

Charles Blahous | April 22, 2014
On the John Batchelor show with co-host Larry Kudlow, the Mercatus Centers’ Charles Blahous discussed his recent e21 feature piece that warns of the “unfolding fiscal disaster” lurking behind the news that enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s health insurance exchanges has surpassed 7 million.

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 | 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.
Charles Blahous | Jan 24, 2013
Charles Blahous cited at the National Journal.
Jason J. Fichtner | Oct 19, 2012
Jason Fichtner cited at Market Watch discussing social security.
Charles Blahous | Oct 10, 2012
Charles Blahous cited at National Review Online discussing social security.
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