Medicare to be means tested!


Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Feb 22, 2003
Saw two blurbs about this in today's paper. Never heard a WORD about it before:

"For the first time, a benficiary's income would be taken into account in assessing premiums, charging wealthier people more for doctor services."

"Under the bill, people with incomes more than $80,000 a year would, for the first time, have to pay higher premiums for the part of Medicare that covers doctor's services."

So far, I have been unable to find any detail, such as:

A) What is the definition of "income"?

B) Is the $80,000 inflation-indexed, or is it another fixed amount, like the 32k Social Security taxable rule that everyone will inflate into as the years go by?

I suspect that "income" will be all-encompassing: Wages, interest, dividends, gains, pension, social security taxable, amounts taken out of a 401k/IRA, etc. etc.

It gripes me that government is moving more and more to reinforce the wrong behavioral characteristics in people. Work somewhere for a long time and get a pension, we'll tax you higher. Be financially responsible and limit current consumption to save for your own retirement, we'll tax you higher. Make higher wages and pay more into S.S., we'll tax you higher on S.S payout.

But, live irresponsibly, spend whatever you make, live for today, engage in bad habits, and we will cover you. We'll just pull it from those other "wealthy" people. You know, those "fat cats", the ones I just described in the paragraph above!

"Tax the 'rich' feed the poor, till there are no, rich no more..."

Alright, rant mode off.

Anyone heard of this new twist to the bill? I wonder if this is just the first means-test of many to come in the future.
We'll just pull it from those other "wealthy" people.  You know, those "fat cats", the ones I just described in the paragraph above!  

Gotta cover those tax cuts and war somehow! There are 'Fat Cats' and then the 'Real Fat Cats' that don't need Medicare and got the bulk of the Tax Cuts.

When half of the public said they wanted smaller Government and Tax Cuts, this is how the current administration is delivering it.

If you cannot Cut Social Security, Defense, or Medicare you cannot have a real impact on taxes. If people would only spend a little time studying the federal budget, they would not believe the poppycock that is bandied about by the Cut Taxes - Less Government crowd!

In case you have not noticed, this is why the politicans that call for tax cuts, never specify what programs they are going to cut to offset the tax cuts. The 'Welfare' card has already been played and would not be mathmatically possible.

Be careful of what you wish for.
As a newcomer to this GREAT forum,a TEXAN, and Austinite - I will be brief.

Please try to remember the important issues when you vote this next November - do not be swayed by sound bites, paid political commericials, and name calling.

Some of the important items in the political debate for me are: foreign policy, health care, budget deficits, jobs, fiscal policy.

Some of the special interest items that do not concern me are: right-to-life, guns, bidness (sp.), closet racism, good-ole-boy payola, democritizing the world.

Please ask me how I would like to spend my hard-earned taxes - and I do not need anyone thinking for me - Thank you.

It's not too late folks - but the clock is ticking........

So far, I haven't found the mother lode of info on the bill from an unbiased source. AARP's website had squat for detail the last time I looked. I saw on the tube that the bill was 1200 pages long... Federal Register, anyone? :p

I did see an interesting tidbit in Sundays paper, relevant excerpts below:

However, the Medicare bill passed last week by Congress provides a powerful tool - health savings accounts.

The bill allows people with high-deductible health insurance policies - at least $1,000 a year for individuals, $2,000 for couples - to shelter income from taxes.

Individuals younger than 65, employers or family members can make pretax contributions equal to the deductible, up to a maximum of $2,600 a year for individuals, and $5,150 for families.

After 65 years of age, earnings and distribution also would be tax-free, provided the money is used for health expenses, including insurance premiums, prescription drugs and long-term care. Otherwise, a 10% penalty would apply.

What I get out of this is, you or your spouse must be making wages to use it.
And I am assuming that the pretax contributions may be used to pay health insurance premiums before age 65 too.
I am also assuming that if your per-person deductible is, for example, $2,500 per year, that the most you can shelter is $2,500 per year.

This is better than the "health expenses in excess of 7% of income as listed on line xx of Form 1040" method, for the lower dollar amounts.

What I mean to say is, with the present IRS method, if your present health expenses (including premiums) is not exceeding 7% of that line of income, no deduction can be taken. With this new health savings account thing, you can start at 0%.

I don't know if I'm correct on wages being needed to make this work, or whether you can shield some of your taxable other income in lieu of wages.

Has anyone seen the detail listed anywhere from a reliable source?
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