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Focus on current, not future, Medicare costs

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The Commonwealth Fund says that Medicare  has undergone changes that make long-term financial forecasts difficult to make and trust when making policy decisions. Rather, it says, the focus should be on containing the program’s current costs.

It says:

“Although the aging U.S. population and rising healthcare costs are expected to increase the share of gross domestic product devoted to Medicare, changes made in the program over the past decade have helped stabilize Medicare’s financial outlook—even as benefits have been expanded. Long-term forecasting uncertainty should make policymakers and beneficiaries wary of dramatic changes to the program in the near term that are intended to alter its long-term forecast: the range of error associated with cost forecasts rises as the forecast window lengthens. Instead, policymakers should focus on the immediate policy window, taking steps to reduce the current burden of Medicare costs by containing spending today.”

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