In recent years, Medicare has moved to the center of public debate about the future of health care and fiscal policy. The retirement of the baby boomer generation, now in its initial stages, will expand the number of beneficiaries significantly over the next two decades, and program costs will continue to rise. There is broad, though not universal, agreement that changes in Medicare are needed, but there is little consensus about the direction of those changes. The most recent report from The Boards of Trustees for Medicare indicates that the program’s long-term problems are worsening and that “lawmakers should not delay” in addressing these financial challenges.
On April 22, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted a forum to analyze Medicare’s problems and explore possible policy solutions and reforms to one of the country’s largest and important social programs. A panel of experts discussed possible future changes to Medicare, implementation challenges and how reforms could affect the current system.