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Prognosis guarded for Medicare and Social Security

Miami Herald/Associated Press, August 5, 2010

Medicare and Social Security - the foundation of a secure retirement - are facing strains from an aging population and an economy that can't seem to get out of low gear. And despite assertions to the contrary by the Obama administration, the new healthcare law doesn't improve Medicare's solvency by much. As the government releases its annual financial checkup Wednesday on the two giant programs that support millions of middle-class retirees, the prognosis is guarded. Demand for services is going up, and income from payroll taxes can't keep pace. Meanwhile, the government has used trust fund surpluses to pay for other needs, leaving Medicare and Social Security with a pile of IOUs. Interest in the trustees' report is running high this year because it's expected to delve into the effects of the new federal health care law on Medicare.