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WASHINGTON (AP) — The annual checkup of the government’s big benefit programs for the elderly show that the Obama administration’s sweeping health care overhaul will extend the life of the Medicare hospital insurance fund by 12 years.
But officials cautioned Thursday that the dramatic gain, reflected in the annual trustees report for Medicare and Social Security, will depend on achieving significant savings in health care in coming years.
The report found that the Medicare Hospital trust fund will not be exhausted until 2029, 12 years longer than officials estimated last year.
That improvement was credited to the cost savings that will occur with the passage earlier this year of the controversial health care reform package.
The trustees said, however, that the country’s recession had made the outlook for the Social Security trust fund worse in the near term, however.
They said the Social Security program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes for the first time this year and next year.
The Social Security trust fund is expected to be exhausted in 2037, the same date as in last year’s report.
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