The annual Trustees report, which details the financial health of Social Security and Medicare, was expected this month; however, its release will now be delayed until the end of June. The Associated Press reports the Obama administration says passage of healthcare reform has made the report virtually obsolete.
Supporters of the new health care overhaul believe it will have a favorable impact on both Medicare and Social Security, extending the life of both trust funds. The benefits would occur in large part through lowering health costs by expanding the pool of people buying insurance coverage.For Medicare, that would result in a direct benefit in lower medical bills while the boost to Social Security would occur in an indirect way. If employers see their costs for health insurance fall, they would have more money to spend on employee salaries. Higher salaries would mean a larger amount of wages that would be subject to the Social Security payroll tax.This year’s trustees report would represent the most authoritative estimate on the impact those changes will have on both Medicare and Social Security. The report will also estimate the impact the health care overhaul will have on the premiums that Medicare recipients must pay. Supporters of the overhaul believe those premium costs will fall.
Two other important items, which should be clearer in the June report, is the potential for no Cost of Living Adjustment in 2011, for the second year in a row and health care reform?s impact on Medicare?s long term solvency:
In January, Richard Foster, the chief actuary for Medicare, estimated that the Senate bill which passed on Christmas eve would extend the life of the Medicare hospital trust fund by 10 years. The legislation that finally passed Congress was the Senate bill but with revisions approved to win House support.
You can read our analysis of last year?s Trustees Reports here .