Medicare to Become Insolvent In 8 Years, Social Security in 16

The Social Security Administration’s main campus is seen in Woodlawn Md. Medicare’s financial problems have gotten worse and Social Security’s can’t be ignored forever

The report also forecasts that Medicare's giant trust fund for inpatient care won't be able to cover projected medical bills starting in 2026, three years earlier than previously expected.

Last year, total program income - which includes payroll taxes, taxation of Social Security benefits and interest earnings - amounted to $997 billion, exceeding total expenditures of $952 billion.

More than 60 million Americans benefit from both programs, which provide a guaranteed income and healthcare for many retirees and the disabled.

Of the two programs, Medicare faces the greatest fiscal challenges as medical costs increase and the U.S. ages, with many baby boomers set to retire in the next several years.

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"The current trajectories in health spending are both unsustainable and unmatched by increases in quality", Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services and a trustee of Medicare and Social Security, said on Tuesday.

Medicare's Board of Trustees blamed the earlier depletion forecast on lower payroll taxes in 2017 as a result of lower wages, less revenue from taxing Social Security benefits and higher-than-expected spending past year.

For Social Security, the last time the program ran an annual deficit was in 1982, before President Reagan signed changes that set it on firmer footing for the next 30 years.

"The programs remain secure", he said, adding: "The administration's economic agenda - tax cuts, regulatory reform, and improved trade agreements - will generate the long-term growth needed to help secure these programs and lead them to a more stable path".

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President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise not to cut Social Security or Medicare, but he hasn't offered a blueprint for either program. About 23 percent of older married couples rely on Social Security as their main source of income, according to the program. It's not just the growing number of beneficiaries as the baby boom generation continues moving into retirement. The report says that income still needs to increase faster than the economy to cover future growth.

But speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Treasury officials said the cuts were set to decrease revenues for both programs. Advocates for the elderly said today there should be no cuts to Social Security benefits.

Democrats, meanwhile, want to extend the social safety net by spending more on health care and education.

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