March 29, 2004

March 29, 2004 | WebMemo on Health Care

Bitter Pills #1: How Much For "A Work In Progress"? $534 Billion (Or More)

When one federal lawmaker learned in January that the Medicare bill passed by Congress last year would cost $134 billion more than expected, he said the law was "a work in progress."

A "work in progress"? That's fine if you're talking about a painting. But when you're talking about offering prescription drugs to all 40 million Medicare patients, regardless of need, that's not fine. In fact, the latest official estimate of the cost is $534 billion-that's more than a half a trillion dollars. The Medicare prescription-drug entitlement isn't even in effect yet, and the real fiscal disaster is on its way.

But not a disaster nobody thought about. Robert Moffit and other Heritage Foundation analysts predicted this situation and others in a series of research papers last year. Here are two:

What Will Medicare's Future Hold For Seniors and Taxpayers? (Sept. 24, 2003)

New Medicare Drug Entitlement's Huge New Tax On Working Americans (July 30, 2003)

For more information or to receive an e-mail version of "Bitter Pills," contact or call Heritage Media Services at (202) 675-1761.

"Bitter Pills" is an occasional, but regular, feature from The Heritage Foundation on how the 2003 Medicare drug law is full of sickening "surprises" that have serious consequences for seniors and taxpayers. Of course, The Heritage Foundation isn't surprised at all. We diagnosed the problems long ago in our Medicare Maladies series ( Both Medicare Maladies and Bitter Pills are available on (if you can stomach them).

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