The Medicare program provides subsidized medical insurance for the elderly and for some disabled people. During 2012, enrollment in Medicare averaged about 50 million people. Gross spending (excluding administrative costs that are subject to appropriation) for the program was $551 billion. (Net spending, which has beneficiaries’ payments of premiums and some other receipts subtracted out, was $466 billion.) CBO anticipates that Medicare spending will rise rapidly over the next decade, spurred by the retirement of the baby boomers. The agency’s work on Medicare includes projections of future program spending, cost estimates of specific legislative proposals, and a range of analyses of policy options and issues affecting the program.

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