The Washington Post: Medicare finances improve partly due to ACA, hospital expenses, trustee report says

Outlook for Social Security, however, remains the same.

By Amy Goldstein

Medicare’s financial stability has been strengthened by the Affordable Care Act and other forces that have been subduing health-care spending,according to a new official forecast that says the fund covering the program’s hospital costs will remain solvent until 2030 — four years later than expected a year ago.

The annual report, issued Monday by trustees overseeing the government’s two largest entitlement programs, found little change overall in the finances of Social Security. The trustees warned, however, that the part of Social Security that pays monthly benefits to people with disabilities is especially fragile and, without changes, will start to run short of money for benefit checks in 2016.

Taken together, the findings provide a nuanced portrait of the fiscal future of these two programs, which act as cornerstones of social insurance — and a buffer against poverty — for older people and other vulnerable Americans. The trustees welcomed the improved financial prospects for Medicare but acknowledged that the underlying reasons are not yet entirely understood. At the same time, they exhorted Congress to take steps to prevent both programs from collapsing in the long term.

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