Archive for the ‘Medicare’ Category

Eight in Ten U.S. Households Pay Social Security and Medicare Taxes

While relatively few low-income people pay federal income tax, a large and growing share owe Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, according to new estimates by the Tax Policy Center. As a result, while about 43 percent of all households will pay no federal income tax this year, only 14 percent will pay neither income […]

How Obama’s Inaugural Address Frames the Policy Debate for the Next Decade

 “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.  But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” With those words in his 2nd inaugural address, […]

How to Control Entitlements: A Challenge Ike Did Not Face

Yesterday, I described President Eisenhower’s remarkable success in turning  a large deficit in fiscal 1959 into a balanced budget in 1960.  It was one of the biggest fiscal consolidations since World War II.  Although it was a very different time, there are lessons relevant to today’s fiscal challenges.  One is that a president need not […]

Social Security & Medicare Lifetime Benefits

How much will you pay in Social Security and Medicare taxes over your lifetime? And how much can you expect to get back in benefits? It depends on whether you’re married, when you retire, and how much you’ve earned over a lifetime. I recently published with Caleb Quakenbush “Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Benefits […]

Payroll Taxes Cover About a Third of Medicare Costs

I get the impression that many Americans believe Medicare is financed like Social Security. They know that a portion of payroll taxes goes to Social Security and a portion goes to Medicare. So they conclude workers are paying for Medicare benefits the same way they are paying for Social Security benefits. That isn’t remotely true, […]

Fixing Medicare’s Double-Counting Problem

Last week I argued that budgeting for Medicare’s hospital insurance program is flawed. Today, I offer two ways to fix it (and reject a third). Medicare Part A is one of several federal programs that control spending through a “belt and suspenders” combination of regular program rules (the belt) and an overall limit (the suspenders). But […]

The Fight Over Medicare Double Counting

The recent double-counting dispute isn’t just about politics; it also reveals a flaw in budgeting for Medicare Part A. Budget experts are waging a spirited battle over the Medicare changes that helped pay for 2010’s health reform. In April, Chuck Blahous, one of two public trustees of the program, released a study arguing that the […]

Will the 2010 Health Law Cut the Deficit or Add to It?

In a new study, Chuck Blahous, who is a public trustee for Medicare and Social Security, concludes that the 2010 health law will add at least $340 billion to the federal deficit from 2012-2021. This is contrary to the official estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, which initially figured the Affordable Care Act would reduce the […]

Taxes, Health Reform, and the Supreme Court

There is more to the Affordable Care Act than the individual mandate. There are also, for example, taxes. And since this is TaxVox, I thought it would be useful to think about some of those revenue provisions in the wake of the Supreme Court’s three-day hearing on the fate of the ACA. The law includes […]

Time to End Washington’s Trust Fund Gimmicks

Why do we bother with government trust funds? As the Senate’s just-passed highway bill proved yet again, Congress is turning these funds into little more than accounting shams. In theory, it makes sense to establish special accounts where designated revenues are set aside for a specific purpose. But in practice, Washington is grossly abusing the […]