Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Social Security, Medicare Trustees Reports Further Delayed

News is going around Capitol Hill that the Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports, which are usually released in March or April but had been scheduled to be released June 30 will now be further delayed until early August. The initial delay was to incorporate the effects of recent health care legislation on Medicare and Social Security, but it appears to be taking longer than initially expected.

Some questions:

  • Will the Medicare report show an improvement to the program's finances through cascading benefit cuts that can't be politically sustained?
  • Will scheduled reductions in medical compensation rates be so severe that some providers might leave the market? If so, how should the Report treat this?

One upshot of the new health reform legislation is that the Medicare Trustees Report, in particular, will become harder to interpret. It's one thing to understand unsustainable financing, which the Medicare and Social Security Trustees Reports have shown for years. It's another to understand financing that might look more sustainable, but really isn't.

1 comment:

Bruce Webb said...

Well that particular rumor bore fruit. But what I find inexplicable is that these delays themselves come in an information vacuum. I understand embargoes, and I understand the occasional need to delay report releases but I don't understand why the latter should be treated as some sort of State Secret. Even a bland "The Annual Report of the Trustees has been delayed due to technical factors" would be something. As it is those of us who want to report on this are reduced to a kind of Kreminology.

Outside some narrow policy forums even the fact that the Report has been delayed is the proverbial tree falling in the forest, apparently no one but you and me (and some others at EPI etc) were around to hear this one fall. At least I have seen no coverage in the MSM.