Social Security and Medicare spending

The Congressional Budget Office estimated spending on Medicare and Social Security reached $1.3 trillion in 2018, according to the agency’s Budget and Economic Outlook: 2019 to 2029.

Three things to know:

1. CBO predicts that under current law, spending for Medicare and Social Security will increase to $2.7 trillion in 2029. The agency pointed to an aging population and rising healthcare costs per person as contributing factors to the increase.

2. “CBO projects that spending per enrollee in federal health care programs will grow more rapidly over the coming decade than it has in recent years,” according to the report. “Healthcare costs per beneficiary are projected to grow faster than the economy over the long term, contributing to growth in spending for Medicare and Medicaid in particular.”

3. These trends are affected by the rising number of people age 65 or older, which is now more than twice what it was 50 years ago.

Higher spending means higher taxes. Higher spending on existing programs means a compounding of future costs when new programs are added.

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