October 23, 2003

October 23, 2003 | WebMemo on Health Care

Medicare Malady #69: Who Doesn't Get Hurt Under The Medicare Deal?

No one. Medicare may be for people over 65, but a compromise on Medicare legislation that The New York Times reported this week will affect everybody.

Here's how, according to Heritage Foundation experts:

  • Current Medicare recipients. If the compromise becomes law, more than 4 million current retirees stand to lose all or part of their existing private drug coverage, which is often better than what Medicare would provide under the compromise.
  • Baby boomers. For those in their 40s and 50s who will someday enter the Medicare program, there's a good chance that the drug coverage many of them had worked for most of their careers will not be there come retirement. Why? Because the compromise will encourage companies now providing retiree drug coverage to drop this expensive benefit and let the government pick up the tab.
  • Members of Generations "X" and "Y".  For those in their 20s and 30s, the new federal obligation will become increasingly expensive: Early in the summer, lawmakers claimed the Medicare bills would cost "only" $400 billion over the first 10 years. Less than a month later, the Congressional Budget Office revised the costs to $425 billion for the House version and $432 billion for the Senate's.

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.

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