The Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will have sufficient funds to cover its obligations until 2026, three years earlier than projected last year, according to the latest annual report from the Medicare Board of Trustees. The projected 75-year actuarial deficit in the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is 0.82% of taxable payroll, up from 0.64% in last year’s report. Among other findings, the report says Medicare’s total costs under current law will rise steadily from their current level of 3.7% of gross domestic product in 2017 to 5.9% in 2042. “The financial projections in this report indicate a need for substantial steps to address Medicare’s remaining financial challenges,” the report notes. “Consideration of further reforms should occur in the near future. The sooner solutions are enacted, the more flexible and gradual they can be.” This year’s report is the first since the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Repealed earlier this year as part of a spending bill, the 15-member board was created by the Affordable Care Act to make recommendations on Medicare payment policy if the projected five-year average growth in per capita Medicare spending exceeds a specified target.

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