Medicare is an important resource for health insurance for almost 45 million Americans. Today, practically all individuals over the age 65 are covered by Medicare. Previous to Medicare, approximately half of all seniors did not have health insurance coverage. Although Medicare is a popular program for many years, it now faces numerous challenges and issues in the future.

Challenges Remain

A serious challenge is how to finance Medicare for the future without burdening taxpayers, beneficiaries, or the general economy. This is one of the greatest challenges for Medicare, due to increasing costs of health care, declining proportion of workers and the aging population. The yearly increases in the cost of health care are placing pressure on Medicare spending. Medicare is 14 percent of the federal budget, and the number of individuals on Medicare is expected to go from the current 45 million to 78 million by the year 2030. Medicare Part A will have insufficient funds by 2019 to pay full benefits.

Experts agree that current benefit levels cannot be sustained without additional revenue. Efforts to curtail health care costs system-wide would help improve the financial outlook for Medicare. The general consensus among experts and policymakers is that changes are needed to ensure long term viability of the program, but no one agrees on what changes are needed to ensure long term health of the program. For this reason, candidate’s positions on these challenges are of deep importance to the security of current and future retirees.

As the population ages more challenges will be created, but none that are as vital as the cost of offering health care for seniors. Because of the progress in technology and medicine, as well as an increasing aging population, the cost of health care are expected to continue to increase. To prepare for this challenge the country needs to plan out how to allocate this burden and adjust to meet the demands.

Medicare Remains Viable

Even so, Medicare most definitely remains viable. Regarding meeting the requirements of those it is designed for and regarding future affordability, Medicare can continue to be successful. It is not unsustainable or seriously flawed. On the other hand, to keep Medicare in good shape for the future, it requires work and dealing with the financial issues. Challenges remain for securing financial health.

The Medicare plan enjoys broad popularity among the beneficiaries. This fact alone creates a foremost barrier to reform. The majority of Americans are content with Medicare and do not desire any changes. Even though the future of Medicare is unclear, the program appears to be so popular that getting a majority in congress may be very difficult. However, it appears that unpopular decisions need to be made if Medicare is to continue to viable and healthy in the future.

Megan writes for Assisted Living Today, a leading source of information on a range of topics related to elderly living and retirement care and facilities and a great means of finding care homes for your loved ones.

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