Why Not Let the Dead Pay for Medicare?

June 30, 2011
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Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has a novel (if not original) idea. Why not let the dead pay for Medicare? Everyone knows Medicare will go bankrupt in the coming years. The program is not sustainable without reform.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has a novel (if not original) idea. Why not let the dead pay for Medicare? Everyone knows Medicare will go bankrupt in the coming years. The program is not sustainable without reform.

So Medicare stays roughly the same, but every time you receive medical care you also get a bill. You don’t have to pay it, though. It’s just there for accounting purposes. When you die, the bill gets paid out of your estate. If your estate is small or nonexistent, you’ve gotten lots of free medical care. If it’s large, you’ll pay for it all. If you’re somewhere in between, you’ll end up paying for part of the care you’ve received.

In theory, this is how Medicaid long term care is supposed to work.  If someone applied to Medicaid to pay nursing home bills, the state tries to recoup the funds in from the estate at time of death.  The raises a good point. Why should taxpayers provide seniors with a subsidy worth hundreds of thousands of dollars just so aging Baby Boomers can leave a similar amount to their children?