Medicare is the fastest-growing part of the federal budget aside from interest payments — a problem that has only been made worse by declining revenues under the GOP tax law.

Expand chart
Data: Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The big picture: Spending is expected to grow by 117% over the next decade due to rising health care costs and an aging population. There’s no sense of urgency in Washington about this. And even if there was, this political environment sinks any chance of massive problem-solving.

Why it matters: The Medicare trust fund runs dry by 2026 if Congress doesn't pass benefit cuts.

  • While that just means that there won’t be money to fill in the gap between Medicare spending and tax revenue paying for it, the gap only gets worse after that.

What they’re saying: “Lawmakers have their head in the sand,” said Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “For the most part, nobody wants to touch this.”

Go deeper: What happens when Medicare goes broke.

Go deeper

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

Ina Fried, author of Login
33 mins ago - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!