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Study Casts Doubt on Medicare Surge

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NEW YORK, Sep 11, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A healthy person reaching 70 spends about the same amount on health care in his remaining years as a sickly person at the same age, a new study says.

The new research findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, may cast doubt on federal projections of surging Medicare expenditures because of longer life expectancies, the Wall Street Journal said.

According to a projection by the Department of Health and Human Services, rising life expectancies are among the reasons that the trust fund that supports Medicare will be insolvent by 2026.

But, the study's authors, a team of researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found the assumption that longer life leads to higher health-care costs for each elderly person was wrong. In essence, the study found that healthy people at 70 save on annual health-care outlays compared with those who are ill, and that the savings aren't offset by their longer lifespans.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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