Guest Post: That Which is Unsustainable Will Go Away: Medicare
by Charles Hugh Smith
Medicare is an example of an unsustainable system that will go away in the decade ahead.
Here are the sobering facts about the number of workers and those drawing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid entitlements in the U.S. While the government claims to have a “trust fund” to pay for Social Security and Medicare, this is illusory propaganda. There are no funds set aside to pay these entitlements–they are “pay as you go” programs funded by current tax revenues. If the tax revenues don’t cover the programs’ expenses, the Treasury sells bonds, i.e. issues debt to pay the entitlements.
Social Security (SSA) has 61 million beneficiaries as of March 2012.
Medicare has 49 million beneficiaries as of November 2011.
Medicaid has over 50 million beneficiaries; another source puts the current number at 58 million.
Kaiser Family Foundation says roughly 7 million “dual-eligibles” who receive both Medicaid and Medicare, so let’s use the data point of 50 million Medicaid-only recipients.
We can assume that most people drawing Medicare benefits also draw Social Security, while the 8+ million drawing disability from Social Security are also covered by Medicaid.
However you slice it, there are roughly 60 million people drawing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid and another 50 million Medicaid recipients for a total of 110 million people drawing significant entitlements.