Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Close
America's Winter Escapes Sweepstakes
Introducing RealPad by AARP
You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP Books

Medicare for Dummies book cover

Get the answers you need, from Patricia Barry, AARP's Ask Ms. Medicare

Most Popular

Viewed

share your Thoughts

Reader stories help us fine-tune our education efforts and strengthen our calls for action on issues that matter most to you. We read and learn from every story and may use yours (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire other readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

You've Earned a Say

The Future of Medicare: 15 Proposals You Should Know About

Pros and cons of options on the table in Washington

6. Generate New Revenue by Increasing the Payroll Tax Rate

The primary source of funding for Medicare hospital services (Part A) comes from the payroll tax. Workers and their employers each contribute 1.45 percent of earnings for a total contribution of 2.9 percent. Medicare also offers coverage for physician services (Part B) and prescription drugs (Part D), but these services are not funded by the payroll tax. It's estimated that beginning in 2024 Medicare will not have enough money to pay for all of the expected hospital expenses. Increasing the payroll tax rate by 0.5 percent to 3.9 percent (or to 1.95 percent each for workers and employers) would raise additional revenue for Medicare’s inpatient hospital expenses. For an individual earning about $50,000 a year in wages, this increase would amount to an extra $250 in Medicare payroll taxes per year.

PRO: The Affordable Care Act health reform legislation includes important measures that promise to slow the growth of spending under Medicare hospital insurance (Part A). However, even with these cost-control measures, Medicare hospital insurance faces a small long-term deficit. That gap can, and should, be closed by a modest increase in payroll taxes. In addition, some changes in benefits are in order to improve protections against extended or repeated hospitalizations. There is no reason to perpetuate the myth that Medicare hospital insurance is in crisis. It isn’t. Vigorous enforcement of the health care law together with this modest tax increase will secure hospital insurance for current and future Medicare beneficiaries. (Henry J. Aaron, Brookings Institution)

CON: Addressing Medicare’s long-term financial problems by raising payroll taxes on working Americans is not the answer. Doing so will make the situation worse for the economy and for our children and grandchildren, and it will erode the political will to undertake needed reforms. We need to make sure that programs like Medicare don’t take such a large share of the economy in the future that there is not enough for other critical goals like education, rebuilding our roads and bridges, and defending America. We’ve got to get the future costs of Medicare down, not tax Americans more. (Stuart Butler, Heritage Foundation)

your
health

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Most Popular
Articles

Viewed

Featured
Groups

Social Security

How to strengthen Social Security for future generations. Discuss

Medicare & Insurance

Share health coverage information and experiences common to being age 50+. Join

Health Nuts

Share heart-smart recipes, fitness tips and stress relievers. Join