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Spending on Seniors Soaring: Congressional Budget Office

Congress’ official budget scorekeeper predicts more than half of federal spending will soon be dedicated to seniors. That spending will be driven largely by the steadily rising cost of health care.

Medicare and Social Security alone cost the federal government roughly $1.3 trillion last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates.

  • CBO expects those 2 programs to reach $2.7 trillion by 2029.
  • Throw in a few other programs that Congress funds each year, and federal spending on people over 65 is expected to account for more 10% of the total U.S. economy in a decade.
  • Once you subtract the money the government spends on interest payments on the debt, programs for seniors would take up 50% of all remaining spending.

Aging baby boomers and rising health care costs are the main drivers of that spending. Per-person health care costs “are projected to grow faster than the economy over the long term,” CBO said.

Read the CBO’s report The Budget and Economic Outlook 2019-2029



Contact Alexis Hertel at

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