20071227 medicare 18
The cover of a booklet provided at an informational meeting on the Medicare drug prescription program in Sun City, Ariz. - 


BILL RADKE: Today we get an update on the two biggest drags on America's long-term budget -- Social Security and Medicare. Here's a preview from Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson reports.

JEREMY HOBSON: Every year at about this time, the trustees for Social Security and Medicare put the equivalent of an oil change sticker on the programs' windshields. Last year, trustees said the Social Security fund would start paying out more than it collects in 2017. They said the Medicare trust fund would start paying out more than it takes in within a year. Experts say today's report will show the situation is even worse.

The recession means fewer people working and therefore fewer people paying into the trust funds. While that's unlikely to mean immediate benefit cuts for recipients, it will mean more stress on an already gigantic budget deficit -- more than $1.8 trillion dollars this year.

I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson