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Medicare Trust Fund to Last Until 2026, New Predictions Show

Update Date: Jun 01, 2013 12:14 AM EDT
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Health care costs are falling which is having a positive effect on the outlook for Medicare, extending the life of the trust fund that supports the program until 2026, which is two years later than previously estimate, a government report released Friday said.

The program's trustees released a report crediting President Obama's Affordable Care Act in part for the improvement in the finances of the federal health insurance program for the elderly. The act's limits on Medicare Advantage, a more expensive form of Medicare run by private insurers, are proving more effective than previously predicted.

"Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are taking important steps to improve the delivery of care for seniors with Medicare. These reforms aim to reduce spending while improving the quality of care, and are an important down payment on solving Medicare's long term financial issues," Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a statement.

At a news conference at the Treasury Department to release the report, top administration officials pledged to do more to control costs even as they hailed the early success of the president's signature health-care initiative. 

"To me, that's the real loss of all this good news," said Paul B. Ginsburg, president of the Washington-based Center for Studying Health System Change. "I don't think anyone except the most extreme person, seeing these trends, thinks the [Medicare] cost problem has been solved. But the way politicians are, it does tend to take the pressure off."

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