Friday, July 17, 2009

Medicare: Issues of Insolvency and Looming Budget Deficit

With the looming budget deficit which is expected to reach $1 trillion this fiscal year, major federal programs such as the Social Security and Medicare are facing insolvency for the next few years according to analysts.

Meanwhile, the threat of insolvency in Medicare and Medicaid programs is more alarming compared to Social Security’s case, some experts said.

According to a government data, spending by the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs federal healthcare programs, increased by $475.3 billion in 2008 compared to the previous year—an alarming rate considering that the funds are running out.

If the health department will not be reformed or well-funded, analysts fear that the funds of federal healthcare programs will be completely depleted by 2017—something which can potentially create social problems as millions of Americans, especially those with limited income, will be stripped with their basic right to receive healthcare.

The threat of insolvency and budget deficit may undermine MMSEA Act which was enacted during the Bush Administration to reform the basic healthcare programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

In Will Shapiro’s article, “The Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act, Medicare Set Asides and what they mean to your practice”, he explained MMSEA Act and how it can overhaul the healthcare system in the country.

Shapiro said Medicare has become stricter in giving payments, making sure the funds will go to the rightful beneficiaries. While this method may reduce spending (and wasted funds), some analysts said the federal government should pass a law—that will complement MMSEA Act—to save this healthcare program and its beneficiaries.