July 28, 2014

Blahous, Fichtner on Medicare and Social Security Trustees Report

Charles Blahous

J. Fish and Lillian F. Smith Chair

Jason J. Fichtner

Former Senior Research Fellow
Summary

The Medicare and Social Security annual report, released today, shows that the insolvency date for the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund is now 2034, one year earlier than estimated in last year’s report, while the insolvency dates for the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund (2016) and the combined trust funds (2033) remain unchanged.

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The Medicare and Social Security annual report, released today, shows that the insolvency date for the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund is now 2034, one year earlier than estimated in last year’s report, while the insolvency dates for the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund (2016) and the combined trust funds (2033) remain unchanged.

Mercatus Center senior research fellow Charles Blahous, a public trustee for Medicare and Social Security, said the following in a letter with fellow public trustee, Robert Reischauer:

“[T]he adverse consequences of delaying necessary corrections in both [Medicare and Social Security] are beginning to be realized. The most immediate financing threat facing either program is the impending depletion of Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund reserves in late 2016.

“…Medicare’s financing shortfall, like Social Security’s, remains a reality warranting legislative corrections.”

Please click here to view the full “Message from the Public Trustees,” as well as the full summary of the 2014 Annual Reports of the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees.

Mercatus Center senior research fellow Jason Fichtner, former deputy commissioner and chief economist of the Social Security Administration, said the following in response to the report:

“The projected dates of insolvency for Social Security’s trust funds remain largely unchanged. I fear this news will give lawmakers and the public a false sense that the program doesn't require immediate reform.

“But make no mistake, there is a Social Security crisis. Misunderstanding the critical state of the program's financial health would lead to grave consequences for beneficiaries of both the disability and retirement programs.”