Congress Needs to Strengthen Funding for Social Security and Medicare

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Social Security and Medicare programs both continue to face significant financing issues according to the annual Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ report issued March 31, 2023.

Based on the Trustees’ best estimates, this year’s reports show that:

  • The Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund will be able to pay 100 percent of total scheduled benefits until 2033, one year earlier than reported last year. At that time, the fund’s reserves will become depleted and continuing program income will be sufficient to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits.
  • The Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund is projected to be able to pay 100 percent of total scheduled benefits through at least 2097, the last year of this report’s projection period. By comparison, last year’s report projected that the DI Trust Fund would be able to pay scheduled benefits through at least 2096, the last year of that report’s projection period.
  • The Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund (Medicare Part A) will be able to pay 100 percent of total scheduled benefits until 2031, three years later than reported last year. At that point, the fund’s reserves will become depleted and continuing program income will be sufficient to pay 89 percent of total scheduled benefits.
  • The Supplemental Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund (Medicare Part B) is adequately financed into the indefinite future because, unlike the other trust funds, its main financing sources–premiums on enrolled beneficiaries and federal contributions from the Treasury–are automatically adjusted each year to cover costs for the upcoming year. Although the financing is assured, the rapidly rising SMI costs have been steadily increasing demands on beneficiaries and general taxpayers.

The Trustees stated lawmakers have many options for changes that would reduce or eliminate the long-term financing shortfalls. As did the Trustees, the NRLN continues to urge Congress to consider options to strengthen the funding for both Medicare and Social Security. With each year that lawmakers do not act, the public has less time to prepare for the changes to the programs.

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