Medicare and Medicaid's 50th Anniversary in 8 Graphs

By Russell, Jason | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, July 30, 2015 | Go to article overview

Medicare and Medicaid's 50th Anniversary in 8 Graphs


Russell, Jason, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Medicare and Medicaid turn 50 years old on Thursday. Interestingly, if the programs were people they'd be too young for Medicare and too wealthy for Medicaid.

Many health professionals are celebrating the anniversary, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "The 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid provides an important opportunity for us to reflect on the critical role these programs have played in protecting the health and well-being of millions of families," Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a press release. "Today, Medicare and Medicaid are creating a health care system that is better, smarter, and healthier - setting standards for how care is delivered."

But not everyone is celebrating the anniversary. "Medicare has a sick underbelly," David Hogberg, a health care policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research, said in a press release. "Exposing the problem and reporting the true facts about this program should be the media's main focus." Hogberg wrote a book sharing stories of patients harmed by Medicare, including one doctor who had to close his practice because of the program, despite the practice's success with diabetes patients.

Whether you're celebrating or lamenting 50 years of Medicare and Medicaid, here are eight graphs that tell you what the programs are about, and where they're headed.

Federal Budget

Together, Medicare and Medicaid take up more than one-quarter of every federal dollar spent. That's more than double the portion they took up 23 years ago. Medicare is more than twice the size of Medicaid.

Medicare Trust Fund Reserves

The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is running out of money. In 15 years, the fund will reach depletion and pay out only 86 percent of benefits. Someone who is 50 years old today won't receive all of their benefits upon retirement, if projections come true. The HI Trust Fund pays for hospital, nursing, hospice and home health care, as well as Medicare's administration costs.

Medicare Premiums

Monthly premiums for Medicare Part B are $104.90, more than double the $50 premiums of 2001. …

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