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UPDATE 1-Medicare escapes mandatory cuts in 2017, trustees report

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WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. government program that pays for hospital care for the elderly will remain solvent through 2029, enabling it to escape mandatory spending cuts this year, according to a report by Medicare's trustees released on Thursday.

Last year's report forecast the Medicare program would remain solvent only through 2028 and predicted that spending levels in 2017 would likely trigger the creation of an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to automatically rein in costs.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology index rose 0.9 percent in afternoon trading amid relief that IPAB was not triggered.

The Social Security trust funds for benefits for the elderly and disability insurance could be depleted by 2034, the same level as projected last year according to the trustees. (Reporting by Toni Clarke, additional reporting by Caroline Humer and Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Tom Brown)