Abstract and Keywords
The retirement-related entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income—have substantially reduced poverty and enhanced the independence of older Americans. They play a key role in meeting financial needs in retirement and should be a stable part of individuals’ plans for their retirement years. However, fiscal pressures arising from high levels of overall government deficit spending and the rapid growth in spending on these particular programs make them vulnerable to policy changes. Medicare is the most likely candidate for substantial change because of its size and rate of growth, reflecting high healthcare costs in the United States. As yet, however, there is little consensus on how to bring about such changes, nor on the appropriate order of magnitude of any reductions in spending.
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