Skip to comments.Medicare Already Means-Tested, Retirement Expert Says
Posted on 05/02/2013 6:26:07 AM PDT by KeyLargo
Medicare Already Means-Tested, Retirement Expert Says 01 May 2013
The Obama administration's controversial proposal to "means-test" Medicare recipients is ostensibly aimed at generating more cash for the government from those who can afford it - or squeezing more money out of upper-income seniors, depending upon one's point of view. But according to a University of Illinois expert on retirement benefits, the Medicare program is already means-tested.
Law professor Richard L. Kaplan says whenever the issue of cutting Medicare emerges, one of the first ideas to "fix" the program is to make its upper-income beneficiaries pay more.
"Indeed, the claim is often advanced that it is silly - if not offensive - to have low-income workers pay higher taxes so that wealthy beneficiaries can receive subsidized benefits from the Medicare program," said Kaplan, the Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor at Illinois. "But the underlying premise is that Medicare is not already means-tested, and that is simply not the case."
Medicare Part A is financed by a 2.9 percent payroll tax imposed on all wages, salaries and income from self-employment, so higher-earning people already pay more for their Part A benefits. Starting this year, individuals with annual earnings above $200,000 and married couples with annual earnings above $250,000 will owe an additional 0.9 percent in Medicare tax, according to Kaplan.
Those taxpayers also will owe a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on their investment income in excess of those same thresholds.
Medicare Part B and Part D employ a more direct form of means-testing - namely, increased premiums based on taxable income during one's retirement years, Kaplan said.
"Eschewing the precise mechanics of the applicable provisions, any Medicare beneficiary whose income exceeds an annually determined threshold pays an increased amount for coverage under these components of Medicare," Kaplan said...
(Excerpt) Read more at medicalnewstoday.com ...
Obama to Seniors: It’s Time For You To Pay
Seniors strongly supported Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 election (56 percent) over President Barack Obama. In his most recent budget proposal, Obama attempts to get his revenge.
There are several ways seniors take a hit in Obamas budget, including tax hikes and cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits. The result is that if Congress were to pass the presidents budget, seniors would have less money and worse health care, and pay more for the privilege.
Medicare Cuts: ObamaCare cuts Medicare spending by $716 billion over 10 years, largely by cutting more than $300 billion that would have gone to Medicare Advantage plans, which provide comprehensive coverage to more than 25 percent of seniors.
Republicans complained bitterly about the cuts at the time, but now we learn that the ObamaCare cuts were just the beginning.
In his budget, the president proposes to force high-income seniors to pay an additional $57 billion in higher premiums and cut $306 billion (both over 10 years) from reimbursements to Medicare providers. If the president is trying to ensure that every senior has a family nurse, instead of a family doctor, that last proposal is the way to do it.
I’ve always believed that the best way to expand government medical care is to change the parameters of Medicare.
However, I don’t want to see government medical care expanded at all.