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People protest Medicare cuts in Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Medicare's primary fund is expected to be depleted by 2026, three years earlier than health care officials expected last year, per the 2018 report from Medicare's trustees.

Why it matters: More than 58 million seniors and disabled people rely on Medicare to get health care services. But a dwindling and aging tax base, higher payments to providers and health insurers, and overall high health care prices could result in fewer covered hospital bills for Medicare enrollees in the not-too-distant future.

By the numbers: Medicare spent $710 billion in 2017, or more than $12,000 per beneficiary.

  • Medicare's hospital trust fund, which pays for inpatient and nursing care and is mainly funded through payroll taxes, is the one that is expected to be insolvent three years ahead of earlier forecasts.
  • The other portions of Medicare — physician services, Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans — are funded through general taxpayer revenue and premiums that people pay every month.

Behind the numbers: Officials said President Trump's tax overhaul likely will hurt the financial shape of Medicare. The law reduced federal income tax rates (which means less money for Medicare) and eliminated the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate (which means Medicare will need more money to reimburse hospitals for treating the uninsured).

A warning: Officials urged Congress and the administration to "work with a sense of urgency" because "the early introduction of reforms increases the time available for affected individuals and organizations — including health care providers, beneficiaries and taxpayers — to adjust their expectations and behavior."

The big picture: President Trump previously vowed not to cut Medicare, and his administration has offered no plan to increase the program's solvency. Many Democratic lawmakers and candidates are endorsing a "Medicare-for-all" system that would replace the current system of multiple health insurance sources with one cradle-to-grave Medicare system.

Go deeper

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a confirmation hearing on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."