September 4, 2003

September 4, 2003 | WebMemo on Health Care

Medicare Malady #37: Medicare Bill A Bust With Baby Boomers

A new poll says more baby boomers are unhappy with legislative proposals that would add a prescription drug entitlement to Medicare.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll says 81 percent of people getting ready to retire (ages 50-64, which includes the first wave of baby boomers) aren't happy with two prescription drug bills recently approved by Congress. That's up from 64 percent in a June poll.

The survey, released Sept. 2, also found three out of four younger boomers and members of "Generation X" (ages 30-49) also don't like the bills, which are now being reconciled into one proposal by a Capitol Hill committee. That's up from 72 percent in June.

And, looking at Heritage Foundation research, it's a wonder the numbers aren't even higher: The latest government estimates put the cost of the Senate proposal alone at $432 billion in the first 10 years. Heritage analysts figure adding prescription drugs as a Medicare entitlement would cost $2 trillion through 2030 alone. To put it another way, these bills would means today's 40-year-olds could expect their families to pay $16,217 in extra taxes until retirement.

The irony is that baby boomers were the people many lawmakers wanted to please when they OK'd the bills back in June. But it seems they now join Heritage health-care expert (and fellow boomer) Robert Moffit in declaring the prescription drug provisions a policy "disaster."

For more information or to receive an e-mail version of "Medicare Maladies," contact medicaremaladies@heritage.org or call Heritage Media Services at (202) 675-1761.

("Medicare Maladies" is a regular feature, launched 7/14/03, from The Heritage Foundation. Sad to say, there's another malady coming your way tomorrow. Daily "maladies" are also available on heritage.org.)

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