Entitlement programs for the aged: The long-term fiscal context

John L. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article examines the long-term fiscal context for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. It first considers their current and projected fiscal status under current policies and explicates the causes and consequences of the serious financing problems faced by the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. It then documents the tremendous pressure that the three programs, especially Medicare, will begin placing on overall federal finances with the retirement of the baby boom generation and discusses why neither continued growth of the economy nor new sources of revenues and reductions in other federal program spending by themselves can easily accommodate the large projected increases in the costs of these entitlements, as they have done in the past. Thus, the new Medicare prescription drug benefit notwithstanding, policy changes that on balance restrain, not further increase, the projected growth of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security may soon be the order of the day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-302
Number of pages14
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Deficit
  • Entitlements
  • Federal budget
  • Fiscal
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Social Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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