Who Pays for Medicare? (Brief 1 of 4)
In the debate over Medicare’s future, one key question that’s nearly always at least implicit when reform comes up is who should pay. More specifically, how should the burden be split between taxpayers and beneficiaries? While some propose shifting more of the costs to Medicare's beneficiaries, the data analyzed in this brief show that not only do the beneficiaries already contribute substantially to Medicare (through income taxes, for example, if they continue to work), but that the burden for them will rise over time as a share of the program’s total costs, even with no change in policy.
For a discussion of the issue of lifetime contributions and benefits for Medicare and Social Security, see A "Lifetime" Measure of Medicare’s Value.