Medicare is the most rapidly growing component of the federal budget. Federal funding for Medicare comes from payroll taxes and income taxes, paid by individuals who are employed. Most Medicare beneficiaries are retired and/or earning minimal income. Further, only ¼ of the lifetime expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries are covered by the taxes they have paid into the system while working.
In combination, this means the Medicare is the program that is most responsible for wealth transfer from working adults to another generation. Even if Medicare seems unimportant to you now from the standpoint of your health care needs, it is critically important from the financial standpoint.
During your lifetime, you will vote for candidates proposing changes in the Medicare program, ranging from changes in the funding mechanism to “Medicare for All”.
Analyze an interactive data set for Medicare part D spending. This choice makes most sense for individuals with some interest in specific drugs, and/or clinical conditions, since the drug names will mean nothing on their own otherwise.
What are the 10 most commonly prescribed drugs? What are the 10 most expensive drugs by unit weight? What are the 10 drugs on which Medicare spent the most in 2016? Which 10 drugs are prescribed by the largest number of providers? Which 10 drugs have increased the most in price between 2014 and 2016? Do some other analyses based on your own interests. What conclusions can you draw from this data?