Does Medicare Benefit the Poor? New Answers to an Old Question
Previous research has found that Medicare benefits flow primarily to the most economically advantaged groups and that the financial returns to Medicare are consequently higher for the rich than for the poor. Taking a different approach, we find very different results. According to the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, the poorest groups receive the most benefits at any given age. In fact, the advantage of the poor in benefit receipt is so great that it easily overcomes their higher death rates. This leads to the result that the financial returns to Medicare are actually much higher for poorer groups in the population and that Medicare is a highly progressive public program. These new results appear to owe themselves to our measurement of socioeconomic status at the individual level, in contrast to the aggregated measures used by previous research.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Bhattacharya, Jay and Darius Lakdawalla. "Does Medicare Benefit The Poor?," Journal of Public Economics, 2006, v90(1-2,Jan), 277-292.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
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"The Distributional Effects of Medicare,"
NBER Working Papers
6910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 257-276, January.
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