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Old Growth

Medicare at a Fiscal Crossroads

There are about 165 provisions in the Affordable Care Act that impact Medicare, the nation’s insurance program for the elderly and disabled. Many of those provisions are aimed at lowering costs for the program, which in 2011 spent $549.1 billion while providing coverage for 48.7 million Americans. Even with health care reform’s belt tightening, Medicare’s trustees report that the program will not have enough income starting in 2024 to pay full benefits.

A good way to look at Medicare spending is as a percentage of gross domestic product, or GDP—the total value of all goods and services produced in the ...

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