CMS actuary: Medicare expenditures report 'unrealistic'

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary (OAC) has given a far less rosier projection of Medicare solvency than the Medicare trust fund report released in April, according to a memo released last week.

In the May 18 memo, the Office of the Actuary called last month's report "unrealistic." It noted, for example, the counting of a 30 percent-plus reduction in physician payments in 2013 as part of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. SGR-related cuts have been headed off by Congressional actions for more than a decade.

Altogether, the projected cost increases to Medicare Part A through 2085 diverge about 50 percent between the OAC's projections and those of the trust fund. The trustees' report projected that the Part A fund will remain solvent until 2024. However, the trustees did recommend changes to the Medicare program, according to The Hill's Healthwatch.

The OAC instead recommended that the trust fund add an alternate scenario that includes a likely Congressional adjustment to SGR, as well as the activities of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a controversial creation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that has yet to make any recommendations for future Medicare payment structures.

For more information:
- here's the OAC report (.pdf)
- read The Hill's Healthwatch article