Means testing Medicare
Reader comment on: Paul Krugman on Means-Testing Medicare
Submitted by Fast Eddie (United States), Jul 25, 2011 17:05
Krugman's argument may well be correct but, I would argue, it is also mostly irrelevant. A big chunk of Medicare money is spent on persons no longer in the workforce in any meaningful way, i.e., they are retired or semi-retired and are in a relatively low tax bracket that would be, at worst, only slightly affected by means testing. The normal eligibility age for Medicare is 65 and the average retirement age in the USA is lower than that.
The real problem is that tens of billions of Medicare dollars are spent every year in the last 6-9 months of the recipient's life, which, with all due respect to granny and grandpa, is a real waste of taxpayers' money. I am personally acquainted with several people who received heart bypass operations when they were over the age of 85. Of course, the minute somebody raises this issue, somebody else shouts "DEATH PANELS" and the debate devolves into name calling.
Medicare (and Medicaid) have made a mess of our healthcare delivery system by grossly distorting and disconnecting benefits from costs. It will eventually self-correct because there won't be enough money to keep it functioning in its current form. And, thanks to ObamaCare and its addition of 30 million more recipients to govt-subsidized healthcare, the self-correction will occur much sooner than anyone used to think.
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