Let the Dead Pay for Medicare

Don't means test the elderly, do it once they're gone: Kevin Drum

By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2011 12:42 PM CDT

(Newser) – There's one demographic lawmakers are assured won't complain about paying for the rising cost of Medicare: dead people. "They don't need their money any more, after all," writes Kevin Drum of Mother Jones. The idea is simple: Instead of paying your medical bills, just file away the receipts and add them to your tab. After you kick the bucket, that mountain of paperwork gets tallied up, and Medicare gets first dibs on your loot before your heirs.

If your bucket is diamond-encrusted, you're responsible for all the medical services you piled up. If your bucket is average tin, your ghost pays only a portion. If you didn't even own a bucket, congratulations, you enjoyed a lifetime of free health care. "Obviously this gives people incentives to spend all their money before they die," writes Drum. "That's fine. I suspect they wouldn't end up spending as much as you'd think." Another upside? "That Medicare bill, with its continuously increasing grand total, would give people a pretty good sense of just how much medical care they're really getting."

Instead of billing the elderly for Medicare, maybe we should wait until they're gone?
Instead of billing the elderly for Medicare, maybe we should wait until they're gone?   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Instead of means testing Medicare cost on the elderly, why not wait until they won't notice?
Instead of means testing Medicare cost on the elderly, why not wait until they won't notice?   (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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