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Congress continues to propose Medicare changes that will have severe repercussions for beneficiaries and their families. Policymakers and pundits are feeding the media and the public misinformation about Medicare. The truth is, most people with Medicare are low-income and most pay more for health care than other insured Americans.  Nonetheless, Medicare Works. For 46 years it has opened doors to necessary care  for millions of older people,  people with disabilities, and their families.

Did you know?

  • Medicare beneficiaries already spend a disproportionate share of their income on health expenses.  Health expenses accounted for nearly 15% of Medicare household budgets in 2009, on average – three times the percentage of health spending among non-Medicare households (Kaiser Family Foundation Data Spotlight: Health Care on a Budget, June 2011)
    • The financial burden of health care costs is greatest for Medicare beneficiaries ages 85 and older, those in relatively poor health, those with low or modest incomes, and those with Medigap supplemental policies (Kaiser Family Foundation Data Spotlight: How Much Skin in the Game is Enough?, June 2011)
  • Half of all Medicare beneficiaries had incomes below $22,000 in 2010; less than 1% had incomes over $250,000
    • Median per capita income declines with age, and is lower for black, Hispanic, and unmarried Medicare beneficiaries (Kaiser Family Foundation Data Spotlight: Projecting Income and Assets, June 2011)
  • Raising the age of Medicare eligibility to 67, as has been proposed recently, will not produce significant savings: according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, most savings to the Medicare program would be off-set by other federal expenditures, and there would be a net increase in out of pocket costs for those age 65 and 66 who would otherwise have been covered by Medicare (Kaiser Family Foundation, Raising the Age of Medicare Eligibility, July 2011)

Surely there are better ways to save money than by piling more onto an already burdened population?

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