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GAO: Medicare becoming bankrupt

Posted - Dec. 21, 2004 at 7:20 a.m.



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WASHINGTON, Dec 20, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Experts say Medicare, the government provider of health insurance for 41 million elderly and disabled U.S. citizens, is nearing a crisis.

Congress' Government Accountability Office projects Medicare will exhaust its hospital-care trust fund by 2019, more than 20 years before Social Security becomes endangered, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The government's Medicare bills will add up to $27.7 trillion over the next 75 years, the GAO said. Social Security, by comparison, has only a $3.7 trillion liability during the same period.

"The Medicare problem is about seven times greater than the Social Security problem, and it has gotten much worse," said Comptroller General David Walker, head of the GAO. "It is much bigger, it is much more immediate, and it is going to be much more difficult to effectively address."

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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