Medicare hike could also hit some in middle class

Medicare hike could also hit some in middle class

Retired as a city worker, Sheila Pugach lives in a modest home on a quiet street in Albuquerque, N.M., and drives an 18-year-old Subaru.

Pugach doesn’t see herself as upper-income by any stretch, but President Barack Obama’s budget would raise her Medicarepremiums and those of other comfortably retired seniors, adding to a surcharge that already costs some 2 million beneficiaries hundreds of dollars a year each.

More importantly, due to the creeping effects of inflation, 20 millionMedicare beneficiaries would end up paying higher “income related” premiums for their outpatient and prescription coverage over time.

Administration officials say Obama’s proposal will help improve the financial stability of Medicare by reducing taxpayer subsidies for retirees who can afford to pay a bigger share of costs. Congressional Republicans agree with the president on this one, making it highly likely the idea will become law if there’s a budget deal this year.

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