Yet with both parties engaging in "Mediscare" tactics, policy experts worry that the next president, the next Congress and the public will be unprepared to face that hard truth.
"It's a very destructive debate," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a budget watchdog group. . . .
Beset with criticism over that fact, Ryan this year modified his plan, preserving the current government-run Medicare program in competition with private plans. Future seniors would shop for their coverage on a new insurance "exchange."
In other words, "Ryan's new plan looks a lot like Obamacare for those over 65, except with a public option," Bixby, of the Concord Coalition, wryly noted. . . .
Bixby said the growth of Medicare is the biggest fiscal challenge facing the country. With thousands of baby boomers joining the Medicare rolls every day and medical costs increasing far faster than inflation, he warned that if the nation doesn't do something more - and soon - to control Medicare costs, an economic crisis could result.
He and other experts said there are plenty of elements to a possible solution: reduced benefits, higher taxes, raising the retirement age - as Ryan has suggested - and increased private-sector competition.