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Actuaries: Priority on Health Reform and Retirement Security Signals Tough Choices Ahead
Date:2/26/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Actuaries announced today its support of efforts to address the nation's long-term fiscal challenges and is urging policymakers to reach bipartisan solutions to reform the U.S. health care system and restore retirement security for all Americans. The actuaries said that addressing these issues needs to be a top priority regardless of any other actions taken in response to the current economic and fiscal crisis.

"There are tough choices ahead, but the time to make them is now," said the American Academy of Actuaries Senior Health Fellow Cori Uccello, following this week's White House fiscal summit and President Obama's address on Tuesday to the joint session of Congress. "The health care reserve fund in the president's budget confirms his commitment to these issues."

Uccello said that actuaries know how to develop sustainable and solvent systems to ensure fiscally responsible health care and retirement policies. She also said she agreed with the president's decision to focus on rising health spending especially given the latest projections revealing that health expenditures will continue to grow faster than the economy.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, national health spending is projected to nearly double by 2018, reaching $4.4 trillion and consuming 20.3 percent of the gross domestic product. Public spending growth is also expected to accelerate rapidly, largely because aging baby boomers will be enrolling in Medicare. By 2018, public sources will account for more than half of all health spending.

"It is important to recognize that Medicare's issues cannot be solved in isolation from the broader problems of the health care system," Uccello said.

The American Academy of Actuaries said i
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SOURCE American Academy of Actuaries
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