The latest survey of the IGM panel of economists poses this:

Long run fiscal sustainability in the U.S. will require cuts in currently promised Medicare and Medicaid benefits and/or tax increases that include higher taxes on households with incomes below $250,000.

No one disagreed, although Emanuel Saez (who voted “uncertain”) wrote,

The key is controlling health care costs growth which does not necessarily imply reneging on Medicaid/Medicare benefits promises

David Cutler is also optimistic about the strategy of having experts (like David Cutler) handle health care decisions.

there is so much waste in health care that if we do it right, we’ll very significantly reduce the costs of care.

To me, the sensible approach would be to cut back on promised benefits until (unless?) the expert plans to get rid of waste pan out.

Regardless of what these economists think, I still fear that when it comes to the budget these days, the political center has no power.