Congress established the Railroad Retirement Act in the 1930s to provide benefits and health coverage to people who retired from the railroads. Because the act came into existence before the Medicare bill was drafted, it seems odd that the two would be connected in anyway.
If a person investigates the topic, they will find out that the Railroad Retirement Board still exists and oversees some of the Medicare benefits that people in this profession earns. The only difference between this and regular Medicare is the government agency that regulates.
The Medicare tax gets deducted from all employees’ paychecks or is paid directly to the federal government by self-employed people. Railroad employees paid an additional tax that covers survivors’ benefits, retirement benefits, and unemployment compensation. The benefits amount for people who qualified for the programs offered through the Railroad Retirement board currently averages at about $800.
The Railroad Retirement act and Medicare are not related in any other way. There are parts of the Social Security Act and the Medicare bill that will prevent people who are covered under this policy from getting more benefits than many other Americans get.
Different acts created each program. The railroad retirement act has more in common with the act that created Social Security because they occurred during the same Presidential administration. The confusion comes because the act that created Medicare gave additional oversight to the Railroad Retirement board.
The outside observer may realize that railroads were not what they once were, but they do still exist. Amtrak employees are often covered by the Railroad Retirement Board. Freight companies still take goods all across the country. The industry is not as powerful as it once was, but it still employs hundreds of thousands of Americans.