Reining in Medicare spending requires "painful" measures, experts tell panel

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Higher taxes, increased beneficiary premiums, and limits on program spending growth will be necessary steps to help preserve Medicare, experts told the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) this week.

Healthcare spending has skyrocketed, MedPAC analyst Rachel Schmidt told members. The adoption of new technologies is one of the largest drivers of spending growth, she said. Americans' poor lifestyle habits and health also have put pressure on spending.

Solving Medicare's financial crises requires that policymakers consider "painful choices" with all options on the table, Marilyn Moon, vice president and director of the health program at American Institutes for Research, told commissioners.

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