Lessons from the past – MCAA

Remember The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 (MCAA)? Most people don’t. It was a law that expanded Medicare coverage including adding prescription coverage. It was also a law that was quickly repealed because the people whom it would benefit didn’t want to pay for it. That is, Medicare beneficiaries.

This might have been the first attempt at social legislation that wasn’t paid for with other people’s money … and it failed.

So I’m thinking, what is going to happen when proponents of M4A start talking about real funding dollars and who pays what? Will those of us on Medicare and who will benefit greatly from expanded coverage foot our share of the bill or will our children be asked to carry the load?

One thing is certain, there will be winners and losers under any new national system.

In a new precedent, Medicare beneficiaries would have financed the new benefits in their entirety. The controversial “supplemental premium”—actually an additional amount of income tax to be paid by an estimated 40 percent of the elderly—would have been the primary funding source. The legislation established a maximum tax liability, which would have been paid by less than 10 percent of the elderly, at $800 per person ($1,600 for a couple). In addition to the supplemental premium, the Part B monthly premium, charged to all program beneficiaries whose incomes were above the poverty level, would have risen by four dollars. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/pdf/10.1377/hlthaff.9.3.75

By the way that $1600 would be $5,590.81 in 2018 using medical care inflation.

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