The latest Medicare report shows tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded promises, but Rick Foster, the program’s nonpartisan chief actuary, says it’s actually worse than that because the report counted savings from a planned 29 percent cut in doctor’s payments.

“That’s pretty unlikely to happen,” Foster says. “Congress has overwritten smaller payment rate reductions every year in 2003 through 2011. And they’re almost certain to override these again.”

Robert Reischauer, one of the Medicare trustees agrees. “When faced with smaller reductions in the past, Congress blinked and cancelled the cuts,” he said.

“Currently Medicare payment rates to physicians are about 80 percent of the private sector, private insurance rates,” he says. They would go to 60 percent if the doctor payments were cut.

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