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Aug 5, 2010 11:07 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Trustees: Medicare hospital fund extended 12 years

The annual checkup of the government's big benefit programs for the elderly showed that the administration's sweeping health care overhaul will extend the life of the Medicare hospital insurance fund by 12 years.

But officials are cautioning that the dramatic gain will depend on achieving significant savings in health care in coming years.

The annual trustees report for Medicare and Social Security shows that the Medicare Hospital trust fund will not be exhausted until 2029, 12 years longer than estimated last year. That improvement was credited to the cost savings that will occur with the passage earlier this year of health care reform.

The trustees say the recession has made the outlook for the Social Security trust fund worse in the near term, however.

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