What We're Reading: GOP Eyes Big Spending Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

What we're reading, January 26, 2016: Republicans will use Congressional Budget Office report to justify steep spending cuts; Centene has misplaced 950,000 files of personal health information; and the US is facing a troublesome shortage of geriatricians.

In 2016, federal healthcare costs are expected to top $930 billion. Paired with a dip in revenue from tax cuts, the government is looking at a $544 billion budget deficit this year, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Officer. Republicans will be using this information to justify deep spending cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, reported The Washington Post. The fiscal 2017 budget proposal will be released next month.

Centene has misplaced more than 950,000 files of personal health information. The company announced that 6 hard drives, which include name, address, date of birth, social security number, member ID number, and health information, are unaccounted for. Although Centene does not believe that the information is being used inappropriately, it is notifying the affected individuals, and will offer them free credit and healthcare monitoring.

Despite the fact that America’s population is aging, geriatrics remains one of the few medical specialties that is not growing. The New York Times reported that the field is becoming less popular among physicians in training, but medical schools need to train an additional 6250 geriatricians by 2030 (450 a year) to meet the expected demand. Part of the problem is that Medicare’s low reimbursement rates make sustaining a geriatric practice difficult.