With Baby Boomer onslaught, Medicare to swell

Baby-BoomerA record population explosion in the nation's health care program for seniors might be created by Baby Boomers.

Starting on Saturday, one every eight seconds, Baby Boomers started qualifying for Medicare by turning 65. Rising to 4.2 million a year by 2030, projections show, a record 2.8 million will qualify in 2011.

About 76 million Boomers will age on to Medicare in all, the government expects. In 2030 the program will grow from 47 million today to 80 million, even factoring in deaths over that period.

Medical advances will extend lives, straining the program's finances, at the same time, health care costs are projected to outpace inflation. With an 80 per cent increase over 10 years, it's expected to cost $929 billion by 2020.

Budget and health experts say that the biggest fiscal problem facing the government is the prospect of a growing senior population that's living longer and costing more is.

President Obama and Congress will be forced to reduce Medicare benefits, increase co-payments or raise the qualifying age.

David Walker, a former U. S. comptroller general now heading the Comeback America Initiative, a fiscal watchdog group said, "We're at the beginning of the age wave, which will bring a tsunami of spending associated with the Medicare program."