Medicare today is a better program on almost every dimension than it was just after July 30, 1965 when Lyndon Johnson signed public law 89-97. In the past 50 years, the U.S. health care system has changed in almost every way, and the power to improve and extend people’s lives has vastly increased.
While Medicare has been shaped by developments in the U.S. health care system, it has also been an independent force for change. Still, short-comings, limitations, and inadequacies in the program remain. What should be done to make Medicare a better program? What should Medicare look like in 2030?
In a special Medicare edition of the Forum for Health Economics and Policy journal, Brookings Senior Fellow Henry Aaron and Robert Reischauer, public trustee of the Social Security and Medicare trust fund, suggest ways to simplify the program and improve its stability and continuity.
Aaron and Reischauer outline several goals and objectives that improvements to Medicare should pursue, including: affordability for Medicare beneficiaries, affordability for the working population that is paying and should continue to pay for much of the current cost of the program, reduction in needless complexity, and stability and continuity.