Does Medicare Benefit the Poor?
Jan 1, 2002
|PDF file||0.3 MB||
Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.
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, this study finds 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 the authors' measurement of socioeconomic status at the individual level, in contrast to the aggregated measures used by previous research.
The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND Health.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.