Triple threat: One day's reports fuel chest-thumping, angst

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James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor

Monday was a remarkable day, even by Washington spinmeister standards. In fact, we here at McKnight's had to look two times — nay, three — to make sure we had seen correctly.

That was the day that not one, not two but three reports forecasting the future funding for benefits for senior and disability care came out. That timing is enough to make one think that someone's in cahoots in our capital city. But we know that could never happen, right? 

Most providers were probably left scratching their heads, asking, "Should we be happy or not?" The rock-solid, definitive answer is: It depends.

First, government actuaries said the possibly-soon-to-be-distmantled Affordable Care Act should save Medicare $200 billion over the next five years. Yea!

Second, the key Medicare Social Security fund will run out of money in 2024, the same year that was forecast last year. Yea?

Third, a key disability fund is now projected to run out by 2016 — two years earlier than forecast last year. Boo! (With apologies to my witty Uncle Mike -- 80 years old tomorrow and lover of the gag that trades "yea!" and "boo!" statements until a funny, usually unexpected punchline ends it.)

The punchline on this is simply that things are not as good as they could be, of course. But they're also clearly not as bad as they could be. That's not just ambivalent mashed potatoes, either. The sighs were audible when it was realized there wasn't major slippage in any of the indices. Unfortunately for some, that doesn't lend itself to the fantastical headlines than many mainstream outlets aim for.

Then again, sometimes "no [new] news" is good news.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.