The Facts on Medicare Spending and Financing

(By Juliette Cubanski and Tricia Neuman for The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, published July 18, 2017)

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for 57 million people ages 65 and over and younger people with permanent disabilities, helps to pay for hospital and physician visits, prescription drugs, and other acute and post-acute care services. In 2016, spending on Medicare accounted for 15 percent of the federal budget (Figure 1). Medicare plays a major role in the health care system, accounting for 20 percent of total national health spending in 2015, 29 percent of spending on retail sales of prescription drugs, 25 percent of spending on hospital care, and 23 percent of spending on physician services.1 This issue brief includes the most recent historical and projected Medicare spending data published in the 2017 annual report of the Boards of Medicare Trustees from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary (OACT) and the 2017 Medicare baseline  and projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Continue reading brief here…

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