Medicare’s Unsustainable Future

The cost of Medicare is a major contributor to the federal government's trillion-dollar deficit. As funding for the program is stretched, quality and affordability of care for beneficiaries is threatened.

A number of factors contribute to Medicare’s escalating costs and pose barriers to controlling them, including:

  • The number of Medicare beneficiaries: In 2013, there were 52 million Medicare beneficiaries; this number is projected to almost double to 80 million by 2030.
  • Longer life spans: As average life expectancy increases, beneficiaries remain in the Medicare program longer and more resources are required to care for them.
  • Prevalence of chronic conditions: There are a growing number of Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions, and the cost of caring for these individuals represents an exorbitant amount of total Medicare expenditures.
  • Health care costs continue to rise: A number of factors, including the price paid for services, the volume and complexity of services, and new medical technology are contributing to the continued rise in health care costs.

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