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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 4, December 2005

The Bulletin on Aging & Health

The introduction of Medicare in 1965, providing nearly universal health insurance coverage for the elderly, was the largest change in health insurance coverage in U.S. history. Medicare currently covers nearly 42 million beneficiaries, or one in seven U.S. citizens. Medicare expenditures were $295 Million in 2004, or nearly one-fifth of total health expenditures in the U.S. The introduction of such a large government health insurance program is likely to have had...

Research Summaries

Article
Since the introduction of Social Security in 1935, policy makers have agreed on the principle of a "three-legged stool" to ensure financial security in retirement - Social Security, employer-provided pensions, and personal retirement savings. Yet many older households have little support from the latter two legs of the stool. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, four in ten persons over age 65 receive 90 percent or more of their income from...
Article
With the U.S. Social Security system facing a long-run deficit, policy makers and researchers have suggested a wide variety of policy changes to improve the system's finances. One of the most frequently-mentioned proposals is to switch from "wage indexing" of Social Security benefits to "price indexing." This reform would affect how Social Security benefits evolve over time. Under the current wage indexed benefit formula, initial benefits to successive cohorts of retirees...

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