November 4, 2003

November 4, 2003 | WebMemo on Health Care

Medicare Malady #77: Who Really Pays For Whose Drug Coverage

It may not know it, but Forbes has created a handy guide for health policy analysts.

The magazine's annual list of the 400 richest people in America provides excellent examples of a whole class of people who really don't need a proposed universal Medicare prescription-drug entitlement that's working its way through Congress.

 Take Warren Buffett. At 73 and worth $36 billion, the master investor ranks No. 2 on Forbes' list. Presumably, Buffett can buy as many prescription drugs as he wanted without help from the taxpayer. In fact, he probably could buy some prescription drug companies themselves.

But, under a plan Washington lawmakers are working on, taxpayers would start picking up much of the cost of Buffett's prescriptions.   

Yes, millions of middle-class and working poor people in America would pay for more than just their future drug benefits through taxes. They also would pay for, according to Forbes' 2003 list, the drug benefits of:

  • Helen Walton, 84, (worth $20.5 billion)
  • Barbara Cox Anthony, 80, ($11 billion)
  • John Kluge, 89, ($10.5 billion)
  • Donald Newhouse, 73, ($7.7 billion) 

This isn't right. This isn't fair. That's why the goofy Medicare drug proposals must change.

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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