The 2012 Medicare Trustees report is yet more evidence of the President’s failure to address Medicare’s core challenges, many of which continue to harm beneficiaries in the absence of real structural reform.
The Medicare Trustees explain in their report that the long-range financial condition of the program has deteriorated since last year’s report but that the predicted date of insolvency for the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund remains at 2024.
Why does this matter to beneficiaries? As the Trustees explain: “if assets were exhausted, Medicare could pay health plans and providers only to the extent allowed by ongoing tax revenues—and these revenues would be inadequate to fully cover costs. Beneficiary access to health care services would rapidly be curtailed.” (emphasis added)
So one year after the Trustees’ initial projection of insolvency in 2024, nothing—on balance—has changed except that we are one year closer to insolvency and reduced beneficiary access. We’re heading inexorably toward a health care disaster for seniors, but the president and Congressional Democrats refuse to offer a solution.
Moreover, the Trustees go out of their way to explain that the current law assumptions on which this 2024 prediction is based are highly uncertain and that more realistic assumptions will drive Medicare costs higher and faster. 
Instead of responding to yet another call to action from the Medicare Trustees, the President’s takeover of health care law stripped more than $500 billion from the Medicare program to help pay for new entitlements we cannot afford. The failure of the president to take seriously the warnings of Medicare’s Trustees belies either a lack of understanding of the magnitude of Medicare’s challenges or, more likely, a willingness to put election year politics above the real needs of America’s seniors. This is particularly unfortunate because, as noted in the Trustees’ report, if current law assumptions do not hold as they undoubtedly will not, “further policy reforms would have to address much larger financial challenges than implied by the current-law projections.” (emphasis added)
House Republicans take on these challenges with a budget that ensures Medicare can fulfill the promise of seniors’ health security for generations to come. Premium support, competitive bidding, and more help for those with lower incomes and greater health needs will ensure guaranteed affordability and improved access for America’s future seniors.
An updated health care “Win the Debate” kit is available here.
 Is the 2024 date certain? Not according to the Trustees and not even under the unrealistic assumptions of current law: “There is substantial uncertainty in the economic, demographic, and health care projection factors for HI trust fund expenditures and revenues,” write the Trustees. “Accordingly, under current law the date of HI trust fund exhaustion could differ substantially in either direction from the 2024 intermediate estimate…Under the high-cost assumptions…asset depletion would occur in 2017.” (emphasis added)
 Consistent with his previous clear and unambiguous warnings, Medicare Chief Actuary Richard Foster in the final appendix to the report emphasizes “the financial projections shown in this report for Medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range (as a result of the unsustainable reductions in physician payment rates) or the long range (because of the strong likelihood that the statutory reductions in price updates for most categories of Medicare provider services will not be viable).”