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A Surprising Threat to Social Security: Medicare Costs

As USA Today reports, the entire Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) boost for 2024 will be canceled out. The culprit? Higher healthcare premiums.

In January, more than 66 million Americans on Social Security will receive a COLA of 3.2 percent, which is roughly $50 per person (or $100 for a couple). Unfortunately, as the article explains, Medicare premiums are projected to increase at over $100 per month.

Simply put, the Social Security COLA is canceled out by higher Medicare costs---and many seniors are concerned. As Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare analyst, explains: “Worry that retirement income won’t be a top concern.”

And yet, meaningful reform to Medicare (or even healthcare in general) is not a high priority for policy makers. One reason it is not a priority is that they are not willing to consider real solutions.

The 3 greatest problems in healthcare are:

  1. Quantity over Quality: A system that only rewards quantity (the volume of services) but not quality (caring for patients)

  2. Coding: Medical coding is fundamentally flawed. It does not value conversations or compensate for coordinating care. Consequently, fragmented care is the norm.

  3. Overtreatment at end-of-life: We waste billions of dollars overtreating the elderly. What's worse is this "care" often causes unnecessary pain and suffering.

My book, The Journey's End, is a roadmap to help policymakers, physicians, and regular people navigate these challenges. Importantly, it offers pragmatic and implementable solutions to these 3 greatest problems in healthcare.

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