Webinar on Medicare and the Federal Deficit
Joshua B. Gordon, Ph.D., Policy Director, The Concord Coalition
The Financial Status of Medicare and Its Impact on the Federal Deficit
- Fast-growing health care costs, the unfunded prescription drug benefit, and retirement of the baby boomers leave an increasing share of Medicare outlays to be covered through general revenues, making the program a major and growing contributor to the federal deficit.
C. Eugene Steuerle, Ph.D., Institute Fellow & Richard B. Fisher Chair, The Urban Institute
Lifetime Benefits and Contributions: A Holistic Perspective on Medicare Finances and Reforms
- The average retiree today can expect to receive three times more in Medicare benefits than he paid in Medicare taxes.
- Effectively addressing this imbalance implies a need to think broadly about reforms.
Marc Goldwein, M.A., Policy Director, The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
What Actions Will Policymakers Take? A Review of Current Proposals to Reform Medicare
- Political realities and considerable polarization over the desired direction and scope of program changes make it extremely difficult to address Medicare’s fiscal challenges in a meaningful way, especially before the 2012 elections.
- While some changes to Medicare may be part of a debt ceiling agreement, more sweeping structural reforms, such as premium support and an increase in the eligibility age, will continue to be debated even after the debt ceiling crisis has passed.
NIHCM Foundation Webinar: Medicare and the Federal Deficit
To promote understanding of the role that Medicare plays in federal budget policy and the Medicare reform options that have been advanced within the context of deficit reduction talks, the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation hosted a webinar entitled “Medicare and the Federal Deficit” on July 19, 2011.
The discussion opened with an overview of the federal budget situation and the roles that health care spending in general and Medicare spending in particular play in our national finances. Participants then heard about results from an updated analysis from the Urban Institute showing that the average Medicare beneficiary retiring today can expect to receive about three times more in health benefits than he paid in Medicare payroll taxes while working. This presentation highlighted the point that Medicare is a subset of broader health policy as well as of elderly policy, and that both health and elderly policy need to be considered as part of fiscal policy. The final speaker drew upon his work with the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission to describe how political consensus developed around that commission’s proposals to reform Medicare and then laid out the key Medicare provisions of other deficit reduction proposals that have been put forth, including the latest proposal by the Gang of Six.
The webinar included the following presentations:
- Health Care Programs and the Future of the Federal Budget, Joshua Gordon, Ph.D., Policy Director, The Concord Coalition
- Lifetime Benefits and Contributions: A Holistic Perspective on Medicare Finances and Reforms, Eugene Steuerle, Ph.D., Institute Fellow and Richard B. Fisher Chair, The Urban Institute
- Reforming Medicare, Marc Goldwein, Policy Director, The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
About the Host
Joshua B. Gordon is the Policy Director of The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about federal budget issues and their consequences for the future. The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by the late U.S. Senators Warren Rudman (R-NH) and Paul Tsongas (D-MA), and former Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson.
Mr. Gordon directs The Concord Coalition's research on the federal budget, health care policy and tax policy and is the editor of Concord's blog. He frequently discusses Concord’s positions in public speeches and interviews with the media. He also directs Concord’s classroom curriculum and its budget simulations, and was a research advisor for the Sundance Film Festival Documentary I.O.U.S.A. He has been with Concord since 2001.
Mr. Gordon has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida and wrote his dissertation on the budget process and the House Appropriations Committee. He also has a Master’s degree from the University of Florida and taught classes there on American Politics and on Congress. He recently served as an Adjunct Professor for the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.