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July 3, 1996

Growth Reduction vs Budget Cuts for Medicare: What's in a Name?-Reply

Author Affiliations

Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn

JAMA. 1996;276(1):30. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540010032022

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In Reply.  —Dr Wynia's articulate and cogent response reflects his passion for American health care policy. A public argument about whether reducing the inflationary growth of Medicare spending reflects a "cut" or a "reduced rate of growth" is an unfortunate sidetracking of the crucial issue within the Medicare crisis. The Medicare Trust Fund is heading into bankruptcy, and such insolvency will threaten the basic health insurance security of most older Americans. The current House leadership in Washington, DC, recognized this problem early last year, and set out to financially stabilize the trust fund. Of interest, the AMA apparently predicted this trust fund financial crisis as early as 1988, but without any genuine congressional acknowledgment that a problem existed that justified intervention.I salute the House plan for Medicare reform. The House plan reduces the rate of growth to approximately 7% per year, and actuarially accounts for the expected increase in recipient numbers.