Consider the following:
- Research suggests the federal Medicare program spends as much as $100 billion per year on medical care that makes seniors neither healthier nor happier.
- Medicare's payment system continues to reward low-quality and even harmful medical care.
- The trustees of the Medicare program have issued yet another annual report containing dire warnings about Medicare's financial sustainability, including an unfunded liability of $86 trillion.
- According to economist and former Medicare trustee Tom Saving, Medicare alone will require tax rates to rise by 25 percent within a generation, and to double within 75 years, absent reform.
- The picture is far worse than it was when politicians were developing fundamental Medicare reforms 10 years ago.
You would think that Medicare reform would be a high priority for politicians. You would be wrong. The president has proposed reforms that would barely slow the program's growing dependence on general revenues -- a proposal that Congress has largely ignored. The leading presidential candidates advocate tweaks -- such as reducing payments for private plans and prescription drugs, or tying payments to quality measures -- rather than fundamental reforms.
To help get the politicians focus on this crucial issue, the Cato Institute will host a policy forum on Thursday, May 15, titled, "Whatever Happened to Medicare Reform?" Tom Saving, the Commonwealth Fund's Stuart Guterman, and I will discuss the current state of the Medicare program, and how the program needs to be reformed. The forum will run from 12pm to 1:30pm.
Click here to register.