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Byline: WALDO PROFFITT / Plug the money drain
A story prominent on the front page of the Herald-Tribune (and many other papers) on Monday reported Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund lost money last year. It was a modest loss as these things are measured - $36 million. But it was unexpected. Actuaries and accountants had calculated the trust fund would run a surplus for the next two years, before going into the decline which would wipe it out by the year 2002.
I am rather inclined to see this story as good news - not the fact of the deficit, but the fact that it came sooner than expected, was and will continue to be treated as a major story, and could, …