Ritter Insurance Marketing, Craig Ritter

Is Medicare Savings being Double Counted?

I heard a Senator on C-SPAN (I can’t remember which one) say that the Health Care Reform Bill would:

  • Reduce the Deficit
  • Extend the Life of the Medicare Trust Fund
  • Expand Access to Millions of Uninsured

The New York Times’ Robert Pear notes the double counting of Medicare Savings and Taxes.  This is a bit tricky to follow, but the Medicare Savings (Expense Reductions) and increases in Medicare Taxes (Revenue Increases) would create an additional $300+ Billion in Medicare Part A Trust Fund Assets.  These assets would not be in the form of anything tangible, but rather, an intergovernmental IOU issued by the General Fund.  The IOU is created since the General Fund would be spending the Medicare Trust Fund’s Money on expanding and subsidizing coverage (starting in 2014).

So, to say your Spending and Saving the exact same money is a bit of a stretch!  Kind of like having your cake and eating it too!

The worse part is, as Pear mentions, the “cake” may not even exist.  CMS’ Chief Actuary, Rick Foster notes that the bill’s estimated savings “may be unrealistic.”

So, we may be both HAVING and SAVING a cake that doesn’t even exist!  Now that’s creative accounting!

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