What Was the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 (MCAA)?
The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 (MCCA) was a government bill designed to improve acute care benefits for the elderly and disabled, which was to be phased in from 1989 to 1993. The Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 was meant to expand Medicare benefits to include outpatient drugs and limit enrollees' copayments for covered services.
- A year after enacting the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, Congress was forced to retract the legislation due to widespread criticism.
- Some found the wording of the bill regarding payment structures to be confusing, so they pushed against it.
- Many people find it hard to support changes to Medicare taxation. Since they are paying out-of-pocket for their premiums anyway, they feel they shouldn't be taxed an additional percentage.
- Medicare tax is similar to Social Security tax, which is deducted as a payroll tax.
Understanding the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988 (MCCA)
It was the first bill to significantly expand Medicare benefits since the program's inception. Although the bill passed quickly with initial support, the House and Senate repealed it a year later in response to widespread criticism of the bill.
The MCCA was a supplemental premium that individuals eligible for Medicare Part A paid to finance the expanded coverage because of high federal budget deficits at the time. This supplemental premium was progressive, meaning that payments were gradual.
For this reason, it was designed not to cause hardship for less wealthy enrollees. These two characteristics represented a departure from previous methods of financing social insurance programs in the U.S.
One reason the bill failed was the lack of comprehensive information and clear communication in promoting this iteration in U.S. healthcare reform. The widespread misunderstanding of payment plans led to distrust and pushback against the bill.
MCCA and Medicare Wages
Medicare is a complex and weighty federal program that taxpayers help pay for with Medicare wages. These are generally taken out of the paychecks of U.S. employees on a regular basis. Controllers and individuals withhold a percentage from annual income.
Medicare Tax Rates
For 2022 and 2023, the Medicare tax rate is 1.45% for the employee and 1.45% for the employer, or a total of 2.9%. Employers are responsible for withholding the 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax on an employee's wages that exceed $200,000 in a calendar year for an individual and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. There's no employer match for Additional Medicare Tax.
Medicare tax is similar to Social Security tax, which is also taken out of employees' paychecks. For 2022, the Social Security tax is 6.2% on the first $147,000 of wages ($160,200 in 2023).
Employers also pay a 6.2% tax on behalf of employees. The Social Security tax rate is assessed on all types of income that an employee earns, including salaries, wages, and bonuses.
Who Is Eligible for Medicare?
If you are 65 years old and eligible for Social Security, then Medicare is an option for you. If you’ve received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for 24 months, Medicare becomes available. Individuals who have certain disabilities, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) or permanent kidney failure, are automatically eligible.
What Is the FICA Tax Rate?
Wage earners pay 6.2% on income of $147,000 or less toward Social Security in 2022 ($160,200 in 2023). Their employers also pay 6.2% on their behalf. So the total tax rate for Social Security is 12.4%. Any income above $147,000 ($160,200 in 2023) is not taxed for Social Security purposes. The Medicare rate of 1.45% is paid by wage earners, and there is no income cap. There is an additional Medicare tax of 0.9% for individuals that make more than $200,000 and for married couples filing jointly that make more than $250,000. Employers match the 1.45% rate but are not responsible for matching the 0.9% rate.
When Was Medicare Introduced in the U.S.?
July 30, 1965. On that day, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. President Harry Truman sent Congress America's first proposal for federal health insurance in November 1945, but the bill failed to pass Congress.
The Bottom Line
A year after enacting the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, Congress was forced to retract the legislation. Some found the wording of the bill to be confusing, especially as it related to payment structures.
Medicare tax is similar to Social Security tax, which is deducted as a payroll tax. Medicare taxation has long been controversial, and many people find it hard to support changes to Medicare taxation. Since they are paying out-of-pocket for their premiums anyway, they feel they shouldn't be taxed an additional percentage.