Clinton Turns "Kevorkian" on Medicare
January 07, 1998
Dallas - President Clinton yesterday announced a plan to allow early retirees and laid-off workers as young as 55 to buy into the already overburdened Medicare system. According to health care experts at the National Center for Policy Analysis, by the year 2045 Americans will already be paying between 23 percent to 44 percent of their total taxable payroll to fund health care for the elderly, including Medicare, Veterans Administration and Medicaid benefits.
Without including Clinton's plan to fully finance the expansion, health care costs are already spiraling at twice the rate of real wages, forcing the Medicare trustees to use their own assumptions to arbitrarily restrict the growth rate. As a result, accurate estimates of future costs are impossible, leaving the Medicare system vulnerable to additional escalation at a time when it should be considering ways to cut costs.
Based on the Medicare trustees' own intermediate assumptions, NCPA analysts calculate that when today's 20-year old retires in 2045:
- Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) will take 10 percent of the nation's total taxable payroll while both parts of Medicare combined will take 16 percent.
- More pessimistic assumptions - which many analysts believe are more accurate -- Medicare Part A will consume 20 percent of total taxable payroll, while total Medicare costs will escalate to 31 percent.
- Other government health care for the elderly, including VA benefits and Medicaid will take another seven percent (intermediate) to 14 percent (pessimistic).
- Medicare recipients will consume as much as two-thirds of the nation's health care resources.
NCPA President, Dr. John Goodman and Vice President - Domestic Policy, Dr. Merrill Matthews are experts on this issue. Both are available for comment on the Medicare expansion plan.