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“Lost in the State of the Union coverage was yesterday’s new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlighting massive increases in out-of-pocket medical costs for seniors – and they’re projected to keep skyrocketing. While President Trump has claimed he wants to lower health care costs, including the prescription drug costs that drive seniors’ medical expenses, the reality is the opposite. President Trump has consistently supported proposals that make health care more expensive, from repeal legislation which would have allowed insurance companies to charge people over 50 an ‘age tax’ with rates five times higher to the tax scam that’s set to raise premiums double digits, and he recently put a Big Pharma executive in charge of HHS. The first step toward containing costs for American seniors and families is for Trump and the GOP to end their war on Americans’ health care and stop paying allegiance to Big Pharma.”

Seniors’ out-of-pocket medical costs are rising

Axios // Sam Baker // January 30, 2018

On average, Medicare beneficiaries are spending about 41% of their Social Security income on out-of-pocket health care costs, according to new research from the Kaiser Family Foundation. And half of all Medicare beneficiaries spent roughly 14% of their total income — not just from Social Security — on health care.

Why it matters: Health care is eating up more and more of everyone’s income — but that’s an especially difficult burden for seniors, who often live on fixed incomes.

The gritty details, per KFF:

  • These percentages are expected to grow.
  • Those expenses include premiums, cost-sharing, and spending on services Medicare doesn’t cover, such as long-term care.
  • Not surprisingly, older, sicker and poorer seniors were all more likely to spend a greater share of their income on health care expenses.

Don’t forget: This is also a good reminder that while “Medicare for all” polls well as a synonym for single payer, actual Medicare for all would still leave plenty of room for out-of-pocket spending and even privately administered benefits.

Go deeper: Corporate profits have dramatically outpaced wages and health benefits since the turn of the century.