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Both Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare.

Welcome to VoteFacts.  Today, thanks to the Washington Post, we are focusing on facts that relate to Congressman Paul Ryan's proposed fix for Medicare.  In an article by Ezra Klein, we are told that, "Ryan’s budget keeps Obama’s cuts to Medicare, and both Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare."

Before we can engage in a truly fact-based discussion on Medicare, it is imperative for readers to understand that even with the current law reductions, the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) fund is projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to be exhausted by 2022, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) projects exhaustion in 2024.  Both of these exhaustion dates occur if the large provider rates that are scheduled to be cut actually occur (which CBO and CMS both say is unlikely).  If the provider cuts do not occur as scheduled, exhaustion of the HI fund will happen several years sooner.  You can read and verify a great deal of Medicare facts at our Fast Facts on Medicare/Medicaid section.

But today's question is whether or not Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare.  So let's get to it.  Here are bullet points from the CBO and CMS on this subject:

Ryan Plan

2010 Proposal

• According to CBO’s analysis, under Congressman Ryan's Roadmap annual federal spending on Medicare would account for 5 percent of GDP in 2030 and just under 4 percent in 2050 and would decline slightly thereafter.  CBO, Page 11

• Much less uncertainty about future federal spending on Medicare would exist under the Roadmap than exists today. Under the Roadmap, per capita Medicare spending over the long term would depend only on the amount of each voucher, which would grow at a rate that is more predictable.  CBO, Page 11

2011 Proposal (This plan Pass in the House of Representatives, Stalled in the Senate)

• Features of the proposal make future federal health care spending easier to model and would make such spending less uncertain.  Under the proposal, federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP would be sharply lower—about 5 1⁄2 percent of GDP in 2022, rising to about 6 percent in 2030 and 2040, and falling back to about 5 percent in 2050.  CBO, Page 14-15

2012 Proposal

• Medicare—from 3 1⁄4 percent of GDP in 2011 to 4 1⁄4 percent in 2030 and 4 3⁄4 percent in 2050.   CBO, Page 1

Obama Plan

• Total Medicare expenditures were $549 billion in 2011. The Board projects that, under current law, expenditures will increase in future years at a somewhat faster pace than either aggregate workers' earnings or the economy overall and that, as a percentage of GDP, they will increase from 3.7 percent in 2011 to 6.7 percent by 2086.  CMS, Page 8

Those are your bullet points on today's question.  But there is another very important element of the Klein statement, and that is, "Ryan’s budget keeps Obama’s cuts to Medicare".  We  are working on that statement and will have something for you to vote on in the not too distant future, because it's a good question we think people will want to answer.  In the meantime, cast your vote on today's question:  Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare - Fact or Fiction?

The Washington Post is a registered trademark of WP Company LLC, Washington, DC 20071

Original post date:  August 14, 2012.  It was modified later that day to include the Ryan 2011 and 2012 budget proposals and brought up for revote.

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Voting Key

Fact = 100% - 92% True
Mostly Fact = 91% - 75% True
Slightly Fact = 74% - 60% True
Split = 59% - 50% True
Slightly Fiction = 49% - 30% True
Mostly Fiction = 29% - 10% True
Fiction = 9% - 0% True