Health Care Reform and Older Adults (Editorial)
Health and Social Work 2010, Feb, 35, 1
Health and Social Work
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In their 2006 book Aging Nation, Schulz and Binstock referred to "merchants of doom"--academics, political figures, and journalists who mistakenly believe that we cannot afford the aging of the population. A central concern of these doomsayers is the cost of entitlements, primarily social security and Medicare. Robert J. Samuelson (2005), the Washington Post columnist, argued that we face "entitlement paralysis" (that is, an inability to address "huge federal retirement benefits" that "may seriously damage the economy and American politics"). As "partial solutions," he suggested "slowly raising eligibility ages and cutting benefits for wealthier recipients." Talk of a general entitlement crisis is misleading, however, because social security and Medicare face very different problems. Between now and 2050, spending for social security will increase from 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 6 percent, and the social security trust funds will remain solvent until 2043 (Congressional Budget Office, 2009; Orszag, 2009b). In contrast, Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will run out in 2017 and grow from 1.71 percent of GDP to 3.85 percent in 2050, while Medicare as a whole will grow from 3.59 percent of GDP to 8.74 percent (Boards of Trustees, Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds. (2009).The entitlement problem is really a Medicare (and Medicaid) problem.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Published: 01 February 2010
- Publisher: National Association of Social Workers
- Print Length: 12 Pages
- Language: English