A Modern Day Robin Hood Would Roam the Medicare Forest

June 1, 2012
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Bryan Lawrence lays out the stark truth about Medicare: it’s a massive transfer of wealth from younger to older Americans. A typical American man who retired in 2011 would receive Medicare benefits of $170,000 over his lifetime, whereas he only paid in about $60,000 (adjusted for inflation and interest). Therefore he’s getting about 3x in benefits what he paid. If his spouse didn’t work she’d get about $190,000 in benefits without having paid in anything.

Bryan Lawrence lays out the stark truth about Medicare: it’s a massive transfer of wealth from younger to older Americans. A typical American man who retired in 2011 would receive Medicare benefits of $170,000 over his lifetime, whereas he only paid in about $60,000 (adjusted for inflation and interest). Therefore he’s getting about 3x in benefits what he paid. If his spouse didn’t work she’d get about $190,000 in benefits without having paid in anything. Add it up and there’s a net transfer of $300,000 from young to old.

Imagine the uproar if things were evened out, with oldsters paying the full Medicare premiums themselves, above whatever amount they had contributed. And how about a real reversal where a massive surcharge is placed on the over-65 crowd and transferred to the young through subsidies?

Never gonna’ happen, right? There’s strong support for the Medicare status quo even among so-called conservatives, so that’s probably true. But if folks start spreading the word about how Medicare is bankrupting the country and is totally unfair to youth, there may yet be progress.

As a start, I would suggest a movement to dump Medicare Part D, the fiscally indefensible drug benefit giveaway to seniors.

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