As expected, the weak economy has taken a toll on Medicare and Social Security trust funds, with each projected to be depleted earlier than previously projected because of decreased payroll withholding.

The Medicare fund, now slated for exhaustion in 2024, would be depleted even sooner without savings in the Obama administration’s health care reform law.

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Social Security is good until 2036, instead of 2037. And, though you’ll read payments this year will exceed payroll withholding (for the 16th times since 1958), that’s not the whole story on Social Security. Some more background follows from a group fighting to preserve Social Security.

(Had to laugh at a recent news release. Rep. Tim Griffin is still defending the Republican plan to end Medicare as a way to save it for future generations. That’s just a lie, if you understand Medicare to be what it is — a single-payer health insurance system for all. Griffin’s plan would scrap that and give people younger than 55 vouchers that might or might not pay for the insurance they need in elder years.)

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