Graph of the day: Medicare age change matters most for minorities

December 10, 2012

Earlier Monday I wrote about some research suggesting that raising the Medicare age would disproportionately effect minorities. Owen Zidar at Berkeley flags some helpful graphs on the subject, which come from economists David Card, Carlos Dobkin and Nicole Maestas. 

In a paper for the American Economics Review, the trio looked at how eligibility for Medicare affects insurance rates among seniors. The jump in rates for all seniors is significant, but its especially big among minorities with less education.

Another way to visualize this split is to look at the seniors who reported delaying care because of costs. Again, you see a breakdown between different demographics. 

This dovetails with separate research in the journal Health Affairs that found that minorities would be expected to show higher rates of uninsurance should the Medicare eligibility age go up. 

The caveat to both of those studies, of course, is that they were conducted before the Affordable Care Act. The health law's Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies would be expected to provide insurance to many of the lower-income 65- and 66-year-olds losing out on Medicare coverage. 

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Brad Plumer | December 10, 2012